I am constantly participating in events on Cloud Computing and one of the coolest things about these events are the conversations on a cup of coffee, those intervals where good ideas can be exchanged. A recurring theme that arises in the discussions now and then is SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), and just listing some interesting questions worth sharing here.
Summarize, informally, expectations that heard in conversations and have listed. First were cost issues, such as reducing the cost of capital (capex) and operating costs (opex), convert fixed costs into variable and simplify the management of applications. Then, nearly tied with expectations of cost reduction, appear to speed implementation, speed time-to-market and improvements in business processes.
Analyzing these data, it became clear that the expectations of CIOs and business executives with whom I spoke was that SaaS should not only reduce capex avoiding the costly purchase of licenses, but also opex, making the operation of the applications become cheaper than keep it in the on-premise version.
This is very much in line with the concerns of businesses today. A recent survey of 500 CEOs in showed that it takes away the sleep of these executives, such as the country’s economic situation facing the global crisis, competition increasingly fierce, the consistency of the internal market and the lack of skilled labor. How this is reflected in IT and CIOs? Reducing costs, but at the same demanding more agility and efficiency. In short, the maxim “do more with less” is more current than ever.
Thus, SaaS solutions have to clearly show these advantages for users to implement. In parallel talked to many executives of software companies and it is clear to me that although they know that they should enter the SaaS world, many do not have a clear idea of how and when to make this transformation. Moreover, fear of cannibalizing its current business model compared to a model that is not adequately understood.
But gradually we see that the suspicions and questions begin to be broken. Successful examples appear here and there. The global software industry as a whole, is already moving in this direction and maybe in a few years, by the late (?). Most software is already being marketed by the SaaS model.
Also noticed a latent concern in CIOs I talked. As SaaS attracts more users, there is the threat of what we call “shadow IT” ie those applications that are at a click (and a credit card) away, allowing users to implement a SaaS application without knowledge of the IT area. An interesting question was raised by a CIO. His company is planning to develop and make available to its customers a suite of mobile applications that will run on a public cloud hosting solution. And he is unsure about how to integrate these applications with enterprise systems and maintain data security, and support solutions that provide customers get when possible (but likely) problems arise in the use of these applications. Well, there are some technological solutions integration between mobile applications and internal systems. But it is clear that it will not be solved just by this. Change in processes and even the skills of IT professionals will also be required.
The “Shadow IT” is a challenge. If users begin purchasing apps without IT knowledge (and it’s hard to argue against an allegation of an area of business that the SaaS application that will make more money) a time bomb is armed. Sooner or later many of these applications will require integration with other, if they are in other clouds, or are on-premise legacy systems. “Shadow IT” is not a nightmare to wake dissipates. It is something very likely to happen if the IT department is not agile enough to set the game rules regarding the use of SaaS software.
Talking to some CIOs, raised together some points that they should include in the rules of the game for their companies to adopt SaaS and acquisition model on their own. How about calling it BYOA (Buy Your Own Application)?. We also found that users must be aware of the risks of business continuity if the SaaS application is not offered by a provider that meets minimum requirements of resilience in your data center.
Anyway, the result was that in practice it will balance the risk to the business with the value that the application will bring to the company. And the areas that users who opt for a “Shadow IT” solution are fully aware of the pros and cons. Thus, IT will act as an ally of the process and will not be a barrier in the way. After all, barriers are bypassed sooner or later.