Over the last few years, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about software as a service, leading you to wonder if it might be right for your enterprise. Defined in simple terms, software as a service is the process of accessing software applications through the internet. A software provider hosts the applications in a multitenant approach that runs all users on a single instance of the solution.
The ease of access for software as a service is making it an increasingly popular choice for enterprises. A few of its other benefits include:
Potential Cost Savings: This consideration is often the first that initiates discussions about making the switch to a cloud-based solution. While an on-site software application often requires investments in hardware and training as well as an extensive transition process, moving to the cloud is generally a subscription-based pay model. You pay only for the number of users you need, and the provider handles the purchasing and maintenance of any hardware.
Ease of Updates: With an on-site system, updates or upgrades might require systems to be down or the update may need to be completed overnight. With software as a service, you may not even realize an update is occurring, and business processes will continue without any interruption.
Scalability: If you work for a growing business, or if you have a seasonal element to your demand, you’ll appreciate the scalability of software as a service. You can spin up new users in a matter of minutes and just as easily scale back down when necessary.
Freeing Up IT: With all troubleshooting, maintenance, and updates being handled by the provider, your IT team will be able to focus more on strategic plans for fueling your business objectives. Overall, the shift to the cloud is changing the role of IT. Instead of simply working to keep the lights on, IT professionals are sitting in on board meetings, helping determine how to use technology to drive new revenue streams and solve broad challenges.
With all of these benefits, you may wonder why you would ever decide not to utilize software as a service for your enterprise. Consider these cautionary points for adopting cloud solutions:
Security: While cloud providers tend to be diligent about security and may have a set of security policies that far outstrip anything your enterprise could manage, you should be careful to choose a provider that pursues security innovation and is proactive about protecting your data assets. Take time to examine their security policies, and be sure that they align well with your own.
Vendor Lock-In: Many enterprises jump in with a software as a service provider only to later realize it’s not a good fit. Unfortunately, when businesses begin to assess the cost of shifting to a new provider, they realize they are stuck with the current situation. Don’t make a shift to the cloud without a clear exit strategy, or with certain boundaries in place that will protect you in case service levels don’t meet agreements or your vendor goes out of business.
Loss of Control: This can cover a lot of topics, but one example is an update or upgrade that the provider is rolling out, but that you aren’t interested in for various reasons. Maybe you’ve only recently gotten your staff comfortable on the last version, or it has features your team finds less user-friendly than the previous iteration of the software. In general, software as a service may not be as customizable as your on-site solution.
Shadow IT: While ease of accessibility is one of the benefits of software as a service, it also means any employee can download a cloud solution. Your IT team may struggle to identify what’s on the network and what security risks they present.
While there are a few risks you want to be aware of and navigate, Software as a service is a disruptive technology that represents an opportunity to far outpace your competitors in terms of reducing your costs and improving customer experiences. Contact us at AMD Communications to discuss the benefits cloud-based solutions could deliver to your enterprise.