One of the most frequent questions I hear revolves around the rise of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. IT professionals are asking “Why shouldn’t I use all SaaS applications if I can eliminate the need for a data center, the hardware and all the tactical IT effort that goes along with it?”
The answer to this question focuses around defining your business requirements, and there are a few questions to consider when evaluating an all-SaaS approach for your IT environment:
- Does the SaaS application have the features your organization needs to make money, serve clients, or reduce costs?
- Can the application exchange data with other applications in your portfolio?
- Does application performance meet or exceed the needs of your organization and / or your clients? Do the service level agreements match your uptime requirements?
- Does the application’s maintenance process for upgrades, bug fixes, and releases increase your risk of an outage?
- Does the licensing model meet your long-term usage requirements?
- Does the SaaS provider offer any backup and disaster recovery of your application and data?
- Can your SaaS provider pass security and compliance audits that are required in your industry or by your clients?
If the answers to these questions meet your business requirements, you can properly evaluate an all-SaaS approach.
We see many organizations with a handful of SaaS applications doing well using an all-SaaS approach. Small businesses with high uptime requirements that adopt all-SaaS may need to reinforce their Internet connectivity, usually with faster bandwidth and a second Internet connection with automatic failover in case the primary one fails.
Larger organizations with more than a handful of applications often have challenges with the all-SaaS model. Many of the industry-specific applications that the organization depends on have been in use for years. The application software vendors may only have a few dozen clients in their industry and there may be no incentive for the vendor to rewrite the application from scratch in the cloud, so a SaaS version of your mission critical application may not exist. Larger organizations may also have more data interoperability requirements among applications that SaaS applications can’t address. And the organization’s uptime requirements for mission critical applications may exceed what SaaS providers can deliver.
Organizations that can’t live without their traditional legacy applications do have an alternative. Enterprise cloud providers like Expedient deliver VMware, Hyper-V, Windows and Linux environments in an Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) model. IaaS enables organizations to run their mission critical applications using these familiar environments with no rework or additional training. The best enterprise cloud providers provide high performance infrastructure from multiple data centers with complementary services like backup, disaster recovery, and layers of security, all in a compliant, audit-ready and highly available environment.
The best enterprise cloud providers also do the research for you, evaluating dozens of technologies to find the lowest risk and most capable solutions to meet your business needs. The right enterprise cloud provider can deliver many the same benefits as SaaS: no more hardware lifecycle management, level spending, pay as you grow, and lower IT staff tactical workload. Most organizations find that a multi-cloud environment is the most practical approach, with some SaaS applications, some enterprise cloud infrastructure, and sometimes including on-premises data centers and application development clouds as well.
Does an enterprise cloud sound like a good match for your organization? Contact me to learn more about the criteria for choosing the right enterprise cloud.
Doug Theis is the Director of Market Strategy in Expedient’s Indianapolis market focused on engaging with and improving the regional IT community through planning, sponsoring and attending community events, facilitating IT-focused continuing education opportunities, and sharing strategies, tactics, and research to help IT professionals stay abreast of best practices and industry trends. Connect with Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.