SaaS Concerns Holding Some SMBs Back

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While many SMBs are fans of software-as-a-service, not all of them are.


Forrester Research recently delved into the reasons behind why some SMBs are leery of SaaS. A recent Forrester report titled "SMB SaaS Adoption: Road Bumps Ahead In 2008" implies that certain key concerns may keep more conservative SMBs -- essentially all but the early adopters -- from trying SaaS.


Atop the list of concerns is questions over total cost of ownership, cited by 65 percent of SMBs. This was followed by integration issues (62 percent), security concerns (61 percent), impact on application performance (58 percent), lack of customization (57 percent), overly complex pricing models (45 percent) and trouble finding the desired applications (43 percent).


Many larger businesses share the same concerns, of course. Security, reliability and a lack of control are persistent bugaboos associated with SaaS, says Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies and the SaaS Showplace, in a recent IT Business Edge interview. Yet in many cases, he says, these concerns are not justified.

The irony is, in many cases, these SaaS solutions are more secure because they have more controlled access to them sometimes. They can be more reliable because many enterprises can't keep their own software up and running very effectively. And control is a relative term. If control means you have to dedicate people to just keeping applications up and running, then maybe that's not a productive way for them to spend their day. Many companies find their software-as-a-service providers do a better job of keeping the software up and running, keeping it secure and continuously enhancing it to meet the customer needs.

Concerns about integrating SaaS with existing applications do appear to be well-founded in most cases, writes IT Business Edge blogger Loraine Lawson. That said, there are some options for easing integration woes, including using a pre-integrated suite from a single vendor or employing an enterprise application integration tool from a third-party vendor.