More and more companies looking to take advantage of software applications without the hassles of all that goes into an onsite implementation are adopting Software as a Service (SaaS). In addition to the months it can take to implement an on-premise solution, the development and maintenance that requires extra time in order to get the system up and running can make it more difficult to accurately measure the shorter term return on investment (ROI) of the solution. Within a society that values instant gratification and getting more for less, the ability to “turn on a switch” and have access to valuable insights while spending less up front ends up being a great pull towards the adoption of on-demand solutions.
Business intelligence is no exception. Organizations facing performance challenges want the ability to quickly decipher trends, to look at pertinent information, and to identify opportunities. On-demand BI, dashboards and analytics give organizations this chance.
This article discusses the benefits of Software as a Service to organizations and how it can be applied. With a wide range of solutions available, this article provides insight into the types of solutions available as well as takeaways related to the questions organizations need to ask themselves before selecting one on-demand solution over another.
The role of SaaS and embedded analytics
Salesforce.com and ADP provide ideal examples of the use and proliferation of on-demand solutions within organizations. With Salesforce.com, companies manage their sales processes, leads, close rates, etc. by accessing a general portal. In addition, many analytics and dashboard applications tailor themselves specifically to Salesforce.com users. In the case of ADP, the most common applications being payroll and HR, the company enables organizations to have these services automated and managed externally. In some cases, organizations don’t even realize that they are using Software as a Service in the traditional sense of the word because of the overall services provided.
By using these examples as a starting point, it becomes possible to see how SaaS solutions can be used within the parameters of embedded analytics as well. Through Salesforce’s AppExchange, organizations can buy or use embedded solutions that fit on top of their Salesforce.com application. What this means is that organizations can use other solutions on top of their current applications to get better insights into their information and solution use.
This can also be applied to on-premise solutions as well. Organizations can pay for on-demand analytics to use on top of their existing operational solutions. Whether CRM, ERP or sales and marketing applications, organizations can use SaaS-based solutions as a way to get business intelligence insights without full-fledged projects requiring on-site implementation and maintenance.
Embedded analytics and the use of SaaS on top of every day operational solutions can be considered an add-on to regular solution use. In many cases, organizations use this as a starting point to either business intelligence or on-demand in general. Because of the flexibility in deployment, usage and pricing, SaaS is an easier way to try new software or to expand upon current initiatives. This helps organizations that do not want to implement a business intelligence solution or start a new analytics project to still take advantage of the benefits BI has to offer.