Slideshow SaaS: 5 Trouble Spots

Published
  • September 12 2012, 5:36pm EDT

Here are five lingering challenges with enterprise software as a service implementations.

Staying Safe

A big issue with cloud and SaaS offerings remains in the realm of security. However, with growing implementation, the security discussion seems to be more toward how to work with offsite applications. molding the enterprise realities of access and entry points. Gartner recently slotted the cloud among its top IT security concerns for the first time, and Forrester’s James Staten asked rhetorically of the help desk, “What’s safe to do in the cloud?”

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Who’s on Board?

There are disputes about how the increase in as-a-service options will impact IT jobs. But, at the least, it means a shift in department duties. Industry advocacy group CompTIA recently reported: “Sixty-eight percent of companies who have adapted or purchased new IT monitoring tools say that it’s a requirement to simultaneously monitor both cloud and on-premise environments. This indicates that IT teams are taking a holistic view of their IT operations across both environments.”

The Dollars are in the Details

Like any service with a contract, there has been a round of sticker shock with the wave of first-time SaaS implementations. Mike West, analyst with Saugatuck Technology, wrote that more enterprises need to read the fine print with SaaS application deals to make sure it follows through on the business value proposition. “While SaaS is seen by many as a cost reduction tactic, concerns remain about integration and data integrity, which can significantly increase costs.”

Call for Back Up

Although there is some insistence that online applications have better uptime, that hasn’t dulled the uproar following recent outages by big-scale cloud and SaaS providers like Amazon and Microsoft. Following a service disruption for customers of Salesforce.com, Liz Herbert, principal analyst at Forrester Research, remarked that enterprises should monitor system status sites when looking for a provider as a point of vendor transparency as well as historical performance. “We always encourage clients to consider how a SaaS vendor compares with alternatives” in house and from other vendors, says Herbert.

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Industry-specific Demands

Growing with the number of SaaS offerings is the range of industries they cover. In enterprise marketing, one of the biggest areas of adoption, there are increasing expectations of nimble access to mountains of social media data, as well as optimal analytics, says Mark A. Smith, CEO and chief research officer at Ventana Research. “Most marketing [SaaS] solutions fall short on the analytics that are required … to be successful in their multi-channel and inbound/outbound efforts.”

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