One of the most interesting aspects of the whole software-as-a-service phenomenon, which we blogged about recently, is how often business users rather than IT provide the impetus for adoption.
Though there are drawbacks to this, not the least of which is a possible "us vs. them" mentality between business and IT, several CIOs speaking at a recent Salesforce.com event found that the benefits of SaaS outweighed cultural and other concerns for their companies.
Though cost control was the primary motivation for software developer SurfControl's switch to SaaS, the company's CIO says it has also helped him recruit new talent, who would rather work with "something a little more industry standard" than with proprietary CRM systems.
As reported in InformationWeek, the CIO of the Schumacher Group of Louisiana says he "went against what the developers wanted to do and went with the recommendation of senior executive management" in opting for Salesforce.com rather than Microsoft products when swapping out its homegrown system.
After this initial resistance, the CIO says, the result was "a creative development team instead of one that gets to write code all day long." (It's worth noting that some developers may feel more comfortable with coding than with creativity. And that change-management skills will be required to ease their anxieties.)
A Symantec tech exec, identifying the need to adopt a common platform for marketing, sales and services departments after his company's acquisition of Veritas as the driver to move to SaaS, also stressed the importance of change management as well as good data maintenance.
An Accenture executive made some similar points at the SIAA OnDemand Summit late last year, saying that SaaS helps alleviate technical risks, so his company can concentrate more on change management and other types of business risk.