Introduction: Getting into SaaS

Introduction: Getting into SaaS

The idea of delivering software via a Web browser has been around for some time, originally as something you’d source from an Application Service Provider. But unlike its unpopular predecessor, today’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) model is becoming an increasingly prominent way for corporate customers to consume applications.

This Below The Line supplement takes a look at this new phenomenon and investigates the many opportunities and challenges SaaS presents to the IT provider community.

At our recent software-as-a-service roundtable, attendees attributed SaaS’ rise to the advent of high availability bandwidth, as well as better access to a wider range of software offerings. It also gives smaller organisations a chance to access enterprise applications they previously couldn’t afford to buy upfront.

The economic downturn, which has taken its toll on so many other IT technologies, is proving a catalyst for interest in SaaS because of its cost-effectiveness and scalability.

But while there are many pros to the SaaS model, it is a disruptive technology, meaning there are issues that need to be addressed before this model becomes mainstream. There are also plenty of questions around how relevant the traditional systems integrator will be in a SaaS world, as well as integration issues with existing IT products and services.

Another challenge our industry thought-leaders faced was coming up with a clear definition for SaaS. While most agreed the concept, in its pure form, is about delivering software through a browser-based experience, how organisations subscribe to this model, as well as what sort of services it encompasses, is open to debate.

Alongside an edited transcript of our emotionally charged roundtable discussion, this Below The Line supplement includes a feature looking at the emergence of software-as-a-service, as well as case study on how this technology delivery model helped one educational institution overcome massive security issues across its campus network.

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