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The promise of Software as a Service in 2010

by Lyndsay Wise, President, WiseAnalyticsTuesday, November 17, 2009

Towards year-end, the identification of trends for the coming year becomes common among consultants, analysts, etc.  Real trend identification is not always possible as technological advancements and market changes affect product development, buying habits, and the like.  Some types of technologies or the use of software, however, provides organizations with business benefits as well as the features and functionalities required to ensure their continued success.

The use of Software as a Service (SaaS) or other hosted solutions seem to be increasing and gaining more popularity within business intelligence and performance management.  SaaS provides organizations with the benefits of not having to implement or maintain solutions in-house.  And with subscription fees, organizations may feel that they are getting a better deal than on-premise alternatives. However, when evaluating longer-term costs, SaaS-based solutions may not be as different from its onsite competitors.  The cost differentiations that do matter are extra hardware, additional software, development, and maintenance. None of which are required within SaaS environments.

With the increase of social media use, collaboration, cloud computing, and demands for self-service BI models, the use of SaaS will continue to expand and gain in popularity. The continued pressure of the economy, how organizations budget their expenditures and the value they expect from their software investments creates an environment where the overall expectations of decision makers has increased.  Companies are no longer satisfied with solutions that will eventually give them value.  They want to see the benefits of their investment immediately and expect the ability to constantly change and enhance the end user experience.  These demands create an environment whereby competition increases among solution providers to give organizations the most value for services offered.

Some additional value for organizations include:

  • Quick implementation times – in many cases information and analytics can be accessed within a day.  Because there is a focus on providing BI as a service, solution providers develop customizations as they go through the sales process in order to quicken overall access to data.
  • Expanding applications – many vendors entered the SaaS market by providing a single type of solution.  With the expansion of use and with companies wanting to take advantage of the full BI stack, some SaaS providers are expanding their offerings to include data management capabilities.
  • Greater interactivity – as organizations become more familiar with the SaaS environment, they are able to create or demand environments that reflect self-service usage through the ability to continually customize and change data access and overall interactions.

In general, Software as a Service BI solutions are beginning to be evaluated among on-premise vendors.  Instead of being seen as an alternative solution, the perceived advantages of SaaS are propelling it into the realm of mainstream BI.

About the Author

Lyndsay Wise is an industry analyst for business intelligence. For over seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay is the channel expert for BI for the Mid-Market at B-eye-Network and conducts research of leading technologies, products and vendors in business intelligence, marketing performance management, master data management, and unstructured data. She can be reached at lwise@wiseanalytics.com. And please visit Lyndsay's blog at myblog.wiseanalytics.com.


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