This isn’t a new TV show — it’s a rerun. Delivering IT services over a network is not new, nor is combining computing power to serve clients. It’s just being done better: it’s more economical, secure and manageable than ever before via cloud Software as a Service (SaaS).
This isn’t a write-up on “forklifting” your data center to IaaS or PaaS — this is about what SaaS can do to make things easier on your IT staff. According to a 2015 RightScale survey, 93 percent of organizations are using some form of cloud. So let’s talk about why.
First, let’s skip the generalities that SaaS provides flexibility, reduces time to market, is “pay as you go,” and keeps you from EOL issues. Looking at how it helps an organization rather than what it provides gives companies a narrative to not only see the benefits, but also get the conversation going on using SaaS. In no particular order, here are five reasons to consider SaaS in 2016:
1. Change the way you deliver IT services
Become a service provider, not a helpdesk. How often do you implement a new software system in the hopes of saving time, only to realize that maintaining that system eats up the time you planned for training employees to use it properly? Taking away the hardware acquisition, new-system setup and maintenance requirements for a software platform leave you a lot of time to focus on using a platform for its efficiencies, not just fixing end-user errors. Now you can focus on how users can perform tasks and consume services more efficiently.
2. Beef up your security
With greater adoption of SaaS, this has become a hybrid dilemma as traditional firewalls and proxies can’t cover all data, everywhere. Even more important, I would argue: they aren’t “trained” to meet the threats of today. Enter CASB (pronounced KAS-bee), which is short for Cloud Access Security Brokers. CASBs are SaaS-based platforms that bring additive features to work with your existing security — and to beef it up. They do this with traditional firewalls and proxies, but also with cloud-based applications (O365, SFDC, ServiceNow, etc.) to provide holistic protection for both applications behind and in front of your firewall.
For example, you add an unsecured file-sharing site to your firewall blacklist. That site decides it is going to reroute through Tonga under a redirect URL name. Now your firewall thinks it’s OK to let users go there. A CASB would remediate that for you so you don’t have to check every day.
3. Eliminate soft costs
“Migrations represent 60 percent of all large enterprise IT projects, and only 60 percent are completed on time,” according to IDC’s Storage and Data Migration Services Overview in November 2013. Looking at SaaS represents moving past the migration conversation and putting that responsibility on the provider. Essentially, you just pay the utility to keep it turned on. On top of that, you no longer have to deal with other soft costs such as maintenance, planning, footprint costs, training, consulting and monitoring. Basically, when it’s packaged in way that fits your organization, you can focus on administration and call it a day.
4. No more expensive lemons
SaaS offers what I like to call “PoC-ability” in that you can essentially run it before buying, unlike any previous hardware or software solution. You don’t have to buy a bunch of gear or provision space on your existing gear just to run trialware to see if it’s a good fit. That means there are no more large investments that you could potentially regret.
And the best part? It’s like a magazine subscription, so you can cancel it at any time!
5. Get centralized and decentralized IT all-in-one!
This is the age-old IT question: centralized or decentralized? Well, SaaS really lets you have your cake and eat it, too. It can offer decentralized consumption (and potentially procurement) while offering centralized administration and governance. This can be a real game-changer for organizations with multiple sites, multiple business units and decentralized procurement.
While there is no silver bullet, there are ways to do more with less and save precious time that IT operations so desperately need. SaaS is a great place to start without pushing drastic change, so keep these five reasons in mind when planning your 2016 IT strategies.
As always, feel free to comment below with any questions.