In January and February, 2012, Saugatuck Technology conducted a global survey focused on preferences for deploying new business software/solutions 2012-2015.

In total, the survey yielded 228 completed responses – 52 percent from North American, 31 percent from Europe, and 18 percent from Asia Pac. 81 percent of the survey respondents had a title of Director or higher, with 42 percent of working in a business function (sales, marketing, finance, HR, operations) vs. 51 percent in IT. 61 percent of the survey respondents worked for companies with greater than 1,000 employees. The survey achieved a solid distribution across industry segments.

Some of the findings were rather surprising. In this two-part Strategic Perspective entitled “Saugatuck Survey Insights for the Evolving Boundary-free Enterprise”, we highlight ten of the most important ones relative to our vision for the evolving Boundary-free Enterprise. Ongoing Saugatuck CRS clients (and registered members of industry media) can access the original reports by clicking here (Part 1Part 2). Non-clients can purchase and download the reports here (Part 1Part 2).

In Part 1, we looked at the ROI Challenge, Revenue and Value Questions, Agility Over Cost Efficiency, Hidden Costs of the Cloud and Realistic Expectations. The emphasis was on business value, taking a realistic look at what enterprise buyers expect and are getting from their SaaS/Cloud Business Solutions purchases.

The ROI Challenge: The ability to prove SaaS ROI is improving, suggesting more and better SaaS awareness and management from procurement through usage and more rigorous acquisition procedures focusing on financial returns

Revenue and Value Questions: While CRM has long been the leading SaaS business solution worldwide, it has not yet been seen to increase sales revenue by a significant majority, and nearly 60 percent do not believe Cloud Business Solutions have met or exceeded value expectations

Agility Over Cost Efficiency: While reducing IT and business costs remain top-of-mind when it comes to SaaS / Cloud adoption globally, business flexibility and agility overall rule enterprise SaaS decisions – especially among leapfrogging Asian enterprise.

The Hidden Costs of Cloud: While SaaS is seen by many as a cost reduction tactic, concerns remain about integration and data integrity, which can significantly increase costs

Realistic Expectations: Executives hope to improve business flexibility and agility while aggressively pursuing cost reductions, revenue increases and operational efficiencies

In Part 2, we examine Integration and Customization, Suite Preference, Money Apps on Premises, Channel Expansion, and Social-Mobile Synergy. The emphasis is on buyer preferences, a close look at what enterprise buyers are looking for now and how they want to purchase SaaS/ Cloud Business Solutions.

  • Integration and Customization of SaaS: The high ranking of broad integration and customization concerns indicate that enterprise buyers of SaaS are shifting away from point solutions at the margins and moving increasingly toward core business operations
  • Suite Preference: Across all solution categories, single-vendor business suites are the most-preferred means of acquiring and using business software. Combining these results with preferences for solutions that are part of a multi-vendor suite, two-third to three-quarters of enterprise executives prefer suite-supported versus best-of-breed solutions.
  • Money Apps on Premises: On-premises solutions closer to “the money,” e.g., Finance / Accounting, Budgeting, Reporting & Planning and GRC, will be slower to migrate to Public and Private Clouds, especially in larger enterprises.
  • SaaS Channel Expansion: While most enterprises prefer to acquire SaaS directly from the solution provider, because of integration and customization needs, buyers are increasingly looking to platform providers/aggregators, managed service providers, VARs and SIs.
  • Social-Mobile Synergy: Cloud-based social tools, now seen as critical to enterprises when embedded in business workflows, deliver significantly more value and utility when accessible via mobile devices.

While Social and Mobile may capture more of today’s headlines, the lion’s share of buying continues be in the Cloud Business Solutions category, aka software-as-a-service (or SaaS), which is still accelerating in growth, though not as dramatically as some of the Cloud Platform categories. Enterprise executives buyers are expecting to realize business value from SaaS / Cloud. What is realistic to expect from buying SaaS / Cloud Business Solutions from 2012 through 2015 may be somewhat different, too, from what we read in the trade press. Solution providers and Enterprise buyers both should take a close look at the capsule observations and Saugatuck Insights into what enterprise executive buyers are disclosing about realizing business value in the Cloud.
This blog originally appeared at Saugatuck Lens360.

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