Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Shrink Your IT Spend with SaaS in 2012

It’s the beginning of the New Year and with it comes new IT budgets. If you’re trying to get that six-figure expenditure approved for your ECM solution – or if you are seeking to better way to capture and share documents than your current  centralized system -- take a moment and think about the impact Software as a Service (SaaS) could have.

Is anybody in your organization eager to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on any IT solution in today’s economic climate? Or, if you had a similar IT solution offered in a pay-as-you-go model for a few thousand a month, which option would you seriously consider? Do you want the solution today, or are you going to wait until the economy bounces back? (I keep asking when that will be.)

The fundamental shift in how software, hardware and IT professional services are acquired, used and paid for today is in full swing, and it will likely affect the future of computing and how you purchase and use your systems.

Consider your choices. In the past, either you outright bought the technology or leased it. Now, with SaaS as a viable option, you pay as you go. The numerous emerging SaaS business solution offerings are taking the concept far beyond first-generation application functionality and deployment.

SaaS alternatives are in a prime position to service mission-critical business applications and operations for small, mid-size and large firms. Microsoft and its partners, for example, offer Exchange, CRM and SharePoint services over the Web – and the application offerings won’t stop there.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, SMBs are the most likely to make the commitment to move their business-critical operations over to a SaaS-delivered application model. Time to market and lower costs are the primary drivers behind the adoption rate.

As a result of these ongoing changes in the way software and solutions are delivered, there will be a fundamental change in the way customers desire to use the next generation of computing technologies — including ECM. You have the opportunity to gain enormous competitive advantages to mission-critical applications for far fewer dollars than ever before.

Moreover, from a time-to-market perspective, there is just no comparison between bringing up a SaaS-based application versus the traditional belabored, deadline-fraught, time-consuming and never-ending CapEx budgeting and appropriation process of a full software installation. What was measured in days or weeks instead of months, quarters or years, will now take literally a day.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Imagine a simpler path that doesn’t require procuring any hardware or software. Instead, you sign a multi-year agreement, pay a nominal setup charge; agree to a monthly recurring fee and away you go. And of course, you are out of the business of upgrades (hardware and software), patches and hot-fixes.

So, what will it be in 2012? Shrink or spend?

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