We all want our businesses to be efficient and lean. Software as a service is an ever growing business solution that enables small, medium and large companies to take advantage of enterprise class applications in a controlled way. Software as a service allows companies to tightly manage risk, gain business efficiency and at the same time leave itself open to choices as their company grows.
If you have read the newspapers lately they are full of various plays on the words "tough times", inspiring companies to re-evaluate costs and business efficiency. It is fair to say that this process of review and risk has been going on for many years, and that for astute business' this is a never ending process.
After all, making decisions about capital and human resource costs when looking at new information technology projects can turn the process less into product evaluation, and more about carefully defined business risk. Everyone wants a guarantee, but not at any price.
So that is the paradigm. How do I move forward with my business IT solutions without taking the risk of an expensive failure? Assessing the cost of licensing which is often not refundable, the cost of hardware which is basically worthless out of the box, and computing the cost of human resources, all compounds risk. To coin a phrase "failure is not an option".
This is where software projects can end up less as a shining example of strategic merit, and more a case of "we have come too far for this to fail now".
So let us take a look at the risk benefits that can be derived by software as a service or hosted solutions, and consider at least one of the key objections.
"I don't want my data to be overseas or somewhere that I cannot touch it"
A bold enough truth, but how relevant is that thought process when we consider online-banking, online tax office information, online medical information. These are all examples in everyday life where we do not know where the data is, but accept that under the right circumstances it is protected on our behalf. The same concept applies to your business data. Most online vendors have strict compliance they have to follow; guidelines that most businesses can choose to ignore when their servers are left in the office, or in the shed out the back.
On the other side of the equation, software as a service allows us to buy into all of the security, hardware and software that the online vendor "has to" supply as part of their overall compliance at a fraction of the price we would have to pay ourselves. It no longer becomes necessary to invest thousands of dollars in hardware, security and software. You reduce your exposure to failure to just about zero. Software as a service allows your business to move slowly, and with grace into new IT solutions, providing an instant "get of trouble" play. Using small teams, and defining system requirements, choose your software as a service vendor based on customer service, and flexible integration abilities.
In summary, to improve an overall cost of ownership, eliminating the need to invest in expensive licensing, hardware and consulting service, means company decision makers like you now have a "get out free" card to play. You can get on and off the software as a service train with little or no penalty