Study Says SaaS Gets Strategic

Michael Vizard

A new survey published by Avanade shows that not only are business intelligence applications coming of age as a service, they are also becoming a lot more strategic.

The Avanade survey, conducted by Kelton Research of 502 executives and senior IT decision-makers found that while customer relationship (CRM) applications still top the list of in terms of planned deployments with 52 percent, business intelligence software was a close second at 47 percent.

Perhaps more striking, 40 percent of them said CRM software was a crucial differentiator for their company, while 37 percent identified business intelligence software as a "strategic weapon."

According to Mark Learning, vice president of the Online Services group with Avanade, the research results indicated that companies are overcoming emotional issues when it comes to SaaS. Instead of just seeing SaaS as a method for delivering certain types of tactical applications, SaaS has become a mainstream delivery method for all application software.

The only real caveat in the study is that 54 percent report they would have done a more rigorous analysis of the costs associated with SaaS applications if they were to do it all over again. But that said, 90 said their previous SaaS deployments have been successful.

The SaaS study is an extension to a cloud computing survey that Avanade released last fall that similarly found a lot of momentum toward adoption of cloud computing. Taken together, the two studies indicate that SaaS and cloud computing, if not already one in the same, are heading down parallel tracks.

How much software will be deployed in the cloud versus on premise remains to be seen. But as enterprise technologies such as virtualization and next-generation application-development tools continue to advance, it will become increasingly difficult to determine at what given moment an application is running in the cloud versus a local server.

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