What about data backup and DR? These building blocks of
business continuity planning are among the most burdensome,
expensive and mission-critical responsibilities of the IT team. But
it is central to the life of the organization to protect data and
plan to get back to business after a low-probability, high-impact
event. With the SaaS model, however, the data associated with
the application and the infrastructure that delivers it are managed
by the vendor. And with that ownership comes responsibility for
data backup and DR.
Other services that naturally fall to the service provider are
database administration and daily, monthly and yearly end-of-period processing. These too present opportunities to refocus IT
and operational priorities.
CEOs & CFOs
For the CEO and CFO, the SaaS-deployment model overturns the
standard hurdles to making a system purchasing decision. If a team
is looking for a fully-integrated, end-to-end solution to replace a
hodgepodge of disparate tools, then the choice between a licensed,
installed system versus a SaaS subscription boils down to this: Either
write a big check to purchase software and the IT hardware on which
it runs (plus a series of annual checks for software maintenance), or
look forward to writing comparatively miniscule monthly checks for
SaaS subscription fees.
What was once a long-term capital investment and ten-plus-year
commitment is suddenly transformed into an affordable, monthly
service. Even more importantly, the service is highly elastic and
easily scaled to accommodate varying activity levels and staff size.
So organizations can pay for only as much technology as they need
without sacrificing future scalability.
With the SaaS model, the typical correlation between functional
scope and cost of entry disappears. Because the periodic subscription fee can be sized to purchase seats and capabilities that accommodate changing staff size or activity levels, buyers are suddenly
freed from having to sacrifice functional depth in order to achieve
affordability. SaaS levels the playing field, giving SMBs affordable
access to the kinds of enterprise-level business functionality that
used to be within reach for only the biggest players.
Measuring the ROI of a New Solution
Typically, the real-world choice facing management is whether or
not to replace an installed in-house solution representing sizable
sunk costs with a SaaS alternative. The calculation can be a challenging one, calling for out-of-the-box thinking to recognize organizational benefits that are external to the operational impacts of
the solution itself.
The usual B-school calculus of looking at the delta of old versus
new in terms of staffing, maintenance and support overhead as well
as competing fee structures may prove inadequate to recognizing
the advantages of the SaaS model and the accompanying enhancements to productivity that cloud computing can bring.
Why? Because the benefits of making the move from an in-house
system to the SaaS model go well beyond the advantages of well-integrated end-to-end processing, faster decision times, reduced
manual processes, greater system availability and better customer
service. With the transition to the SaaS model — and the power
of cloud computing that comes with it — comes a new world of
options for how teams grow, collaborate, scale and deliver value.
And while these benefits may be difficult to report in metrics in an
ROI model, they nonetheless may be the foundation for the future
competitiveness and survivability of the operation.
The benefits of making the move from an in-house system
to the SaaS model go well beyond the advantages of well-integrated end-to-end processing… With the transition
to the SaaS model — and the power of cloud computing that
comes with it — comes a new world of options for how
teams grow, collaborate, scale and deliver value.
It is true that the cloud promises to level the playing field
by making the best technology affordable for all players. But it
also represents a new kind of operating platform, one that will
enable smart managers to find extremely cost-effective ways of
outsourcing and automating the least critical components of the
portfolio management cycle, enabling their teams to focus on what
they do best. m
ANDRE W LEA is senior manager of Marketing at NetSol Technologies
North America. He can be reached by e-mail at andrew.lea@
netsoltech.com. NetSol Technologies recently announced the availability of LeasePak Software-as-a-Service, a cloud-delivered portfolio
management and accounting solution. For more information, visit