It’s probably about time we had a talk about SaaS. Perhaps a little explanation of SaaS is in order first. Cloud services have been popping up in the news a lot recently and it seems like everyone is talking about it more than ever. But when I try to talk to the average computer user about SaaS, I’m often met with blank stares. Let’s delve into the topic of SaaS and tease out just why this technology deserves mre attention.
To begin with, SaaS simply means “Software as a Service.” If you’ve been using computers for decades now as I have you’ll probably be a tad unfamiliar with the concept. I remember as a teen, buying video games in large cardboard boxes with ten or more floppies inside. If memory serves me properly, Windows NT 3.1 was about 25 disks worth of data. Software definitely got more condensed over time, but Software as a Service is the farthest you can go from those golden days of big boxes software. And yet there are plenty of advantages to SaaS aside from this physical downsizing.
SaaS is particularly attractive to companies that employ enterprise software in their daily operations. The basic parts of software-as-a-service are contained offsite at the service provider’s facilities. This takes off some of the demand for IT services by lessening the amount of hardware and also by decreasing software maintenance. Granted, this is reinventing the wheel a bit; other industries have already applied similar concepts with successful results. As a quick example, think of a print shop. The necessary equipment is too great in cost for any individual client to accept; and as a result businesses popped up that were willing to shoulder the cost and provide access to these specialized machines for a fee.
Take a look at the numbers for Software-as-a-Service industry-wide and you’ll get the picture of a flourishing industry. This is reflected in a report from Siemer and Associates who cataloged a 17% expansion in the industry between the years 2011 and 2012. This ought to be of particular interest to IT Managers working in the United States, since 60% or more of 2012 revenue was recorded in American markets. In addition to these impressive numbers, a Right Scale survey of technical professionals found that 94% of the organizations surveyed were “running applications or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service.” Infrastructure-as-a-service here refers to the hardware that runs software-as-a-service, and so we can take the good news about IaaS as equally good news for SaaS.
Regardless of the hesitancy that some consumers and CIOs have to adopt IaaS or SaaS, it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. It is clear to me, that any slight resistance from consumers, and especially CIOs, is due to improper education with regard to cloud based computing solutions and surrounding technologies. The Right Scale survey mentioned earlier also found that professionals and novices alike are less concerned about cloud security in 2014 than they were in 2013. The concerns of cloud computing professionals like Critical Space Associates are more focused on issues with compliance between data in disparate locations. If you are a CIO or a consumer who has been slow to get on the IaaS/SaaS train, take this article as a warning; these technologies are not going anywhere, it behooves you to get familiar.