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Going 100% SaaS By @YuviKochar | @CloudExpo #Cloud

SaaS solutions have matured to adequately support a broad range of functions within an enterprise

Going 100% SaaS
By Yuvi Kochar

I was first introduced to SaaS (then ASP) in January 2000 when I joined Brassring, a rollup of 9 small companies in the recruitment space, as its first CTO. Our flagship product, HireSystems, was the leading Applicant Tracking System delivered as a service to our large enterprise customers. Within a few months of joining Brassring, I realized that this was the how Enterprise technology will be delivered in the future. Ever since, I have continued to be a very strong proponent of SaaS.

Over the past several years, SaaS solutions have matured to adequately support a broad range of functions within an enterprise. Most companies uniquely use SaaS solutions for their internal technology needs.

In the year 2012, I established a goal to migrate our entire portfolio of 31 business applications to SaaS. We are at 74% and have learned a lot on how best to select, deploy, operate and evolve a SaaS application portfolio.

Why do I like SaaS?
While there are many advantages to SaaS over internally managed systems, what attracts me most to SaaS is that:

  • The internal technology team can focus on the success of the business and not on technology operation and management

Other reasons for embracing SaaS include:

  • Agility
  • High quality UX (User Experience)
  • Broad device support
  • Lower Cost of Ownership (our CFO loves that)
  • No capital investment
  • Constant enhancements at no additional cost
  • No expensive and risky Upgrades
  • Better Cybersecurity and Disaster Recovery

SaaS has some drawbacks as well:

  • No Customizations: A SaaS product may have some gaps in functionality that, contrary to legacy systems, cannot be addressed by customizations
  • Less flexibility in how a business function is operated
  • Vendor lock-in: It is much harder to migrate away from a SaaS product than from a legacy system

Evaluating SaaS
It is important to remember that SaaS is not only a software product but also a service. During the selection process, it is important to evaluate the functionality of the technology and the quality of the service. SaaS solutions expect organizations to give up of control of the technology and, thus, require a much deeper due-diligence.

Key Evaluation Criteria - Software

  • System functionality
  • Technology architecture: Infrastructure, Reporting, Integrations
  • Security architecture
  • Migration tools and services – in and out
  • Configuration management

Key Evaluation Criteria - Service

  • Release schedule
  • Operational procedures: Cybersecurity, Change management, etc.
  • Service availability and performance
  • SLAs for issue resolution, especially, relating to mission-critical processes
  • Contract terms: Liability, Warranty, Term and Termination, Ownership of data, business rules and processes

In my next post on this topic I will provide context around deploying and operating SaaS

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

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