Software as a service (SaaS) will have a role in the future of IT, but not the dominant future that was first thought, according to Gartner. Organizations should carefully assess their software needs in light of the current promises delivered on by SaaS.
From a market perspective, most of the spending for SaaS is occurring in content, collaboration and communication and the customer relationship management markets. Collectively, they represented 65 percent of the global enterprise applications software market in 2009.
SaaS may not have delivered on its early grand promises – of the current SaaS deployments we estimate that a total of 90 percent of SaaS deployments are not pay-per-use -, but it has re-energized the software market and added choice. SaaS does not solve all the challenges of software delivery, but can provide advantages based on the specific circumstances of a deployment as it is quicker to implement and configure for less-complex problems.
Gartner said that SaaS will likely penetrate every company at one level or another and recommends that organizations consider four steps when evaluating SaaS:
SaaS is not a panacea, and companies need to evaluate and understand the trade-offs that SaaS presents. While it limits infrastructure overheads and management, and lowers short- to medium-term total cost of ownership, third-party application tools are limited and SaaS applications cannot be counted as assets on a balance sheet.
The next step is to develop a SaaS policy and governance document. This document should be a collaborative effort between the business and IT to create internal and external SaaS governance model.
Organizations need to evaluate SaaS vendors for specific application needs as applicable. A vendor’s commitment to SaaS is not just measured in business performance, but in technical considerations, such as operations management capabilities.
Develop an integration road map
This step will be a continuous process of developing an integration road map on how SaaS applications will integrate with on-premises applications and other SaaS solutions deployed.