March 24, 2011 – Economic conditions and technological advances have brought software as a service to widespread adoption, but integrating those services will be the next big obstacle for data managers, according to new research from the Society for Information Management (SIM).

SIM’s Advanced Practices Council, a forum of senior IT executives working on in-depth exploration of particular data issues, looked at the past, present and what it believes to be the future of IT services in its report, “SaaS, IaaS and PaaS: Realities and Emerging Integration Issues.”

Julie Smith David, report author and IT business director at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said nearly all organizations she’s queried have some level of SaaS adoption already implemented. Pooling outside research and reports from analysts at Gartner, IDC and Forrester, SIM researchers expect SaaS investment to increase about 17 percent this year, vaulting to approximately $14 billion in 2013.

David says cuts to IT budgets as the overall economy soured led larger enterprises to join smaller ones in broad adoption of SaaS and other external services. However, this rush has moved faster than the development of integration plans within organizations, causing issues later on, David says.

“With the growing adoption, now there’s the growing pains,” she says. “Usually, within six months of implementation, when it becomes really important to their function, it becomes IT’s job after the fact to figure out how to integrate it.”

While it hasn’t impeded the general movement toward SaaS, absence of integration plans and expertise has reminded many CIOs and IT officers of problems with best-of-breed optimization experienced during the 1980s, David says. Without full integration, short-term gains from SaaS, Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service will likely be lost, according to the research. Further, research author Michael T. Lee, also with the ASU business school, says he foresees integration as a service developing and increasing in adoption as its own address many of these issues.

SIM researchers recommend making an inventory of existing SaaS applications and integration expertise, performance of controlled rollouts, and development of a support procedure manual and overall SaaS business strategy.  

To access the 27-page research report, click here.

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