universal. But among the 47% of our respondents who use it, SaaS has moved far beyond sales force automation and CRM. Human
resources, Web presence, e-mail, service desk, collaboration, financial, and backup apps all are used by a fourth or more
of SaaS customers.
At my firm, Fusion PPT, a boutique federal consulting firm with staff working mostly at client
sites, we use SaaS for 100% of our business server applications. From invoice, billing, and time sheets to sales pipeline
management to e-mail, we don't own a single server or software license.
We went with
SaaS for the main reasons the survey respondents are: quick setup and reduced capital costs. But another benefit, which will
be increasingly powerful, is employee demand for mobility. SaaS will force IT organizations to make more apps securely accessible
outside their corporate environment, be it remote offices, on the road, via a smartphone, or from a home PC. The demand for
remote access may outpace IT's ability to deliver apps on a variety of platforms.
For browser-based SaaS apps,
mobile access is the name of the game.
For the half of survey respondents that haven't moved to SaaS, security's one of the biggest barriers: 39% cite it
as a major obstacle. However, only slightly fewer cite the fact that they still don't know much about SaaS. Perhaps the fervor
over cloud computing is overshadowing the education about simple software as a service.
Data ownership is also
a big obstacle, with 31% citing it as a reason they're not using SaaS.
In speaking with SaaS vendors, they say
security, privacy, and portability are the three objections they hear most. Portability will likely be one of the biggest
worries this year, as companies pour more data into these apps and, having gained some SaaS experience and seen the growing
number of choices, start switching providers.
SaaS strategy is getting short shrift--perhaps because it's often being forced on IT. Among
SaaS users, only 37% say the IT organization is the primary driver to use it; 54% say another C-level exec or line of business
is behind it.
SaaS should be on the table any time a new IT-driven capability is brought into the company, and IT should have a
clear framework for evaluating and operating it. In developing that SaaS strategy, teams should address these nine key areas.