This story was updated to include additional reporting. To read the original story, click here.\n\nTom Clement has reinvented his career before. In 1984, he realized that working in \n\ntechnology would suit him better than his job as a litigator in Texas. "I came home one day \n\nfrom work, and I was used to being really tense," he says. "But that day, my secretary's \n\nrecorder had broken. I'd taken it apart, put it back together and somehow, it worked. I was \n\nwhistling and in a good mood because of it, and my girlfriend heard me and said, 'Tom, maybe \n\nyou were made for a different line of work.'"\nMore on CIO.com\nHow Fast Is the Road to SaaS?\n\nWho You Gonna Hire?\n\nWhy SaaS Could Make Your IT Skills Irrelevant\n\nSaaS's Impact on the Enterprise ERP Market\n\nReport: Enterprises Adopt SaaS Aggressively\n\nUnderstanding Zoho, the Quiet Company Taking on Google and Microsoft\n\nAfter moving to California and taking a night class at the University of California, \n\nBerkeley, in C-programming, he put his law ambitions aside and took a job at a C-compiler \n\ncompany, taking pieces of code and translating it into a language that could work on \n\nMotorola hardware. \n\nToday, Clement, a senior developer at Serena Software, might be facing a bigger career test: \n\nsoftware as a service (SaaS), the movement of software to the Web. SaaS, one flavor of \n\ntoday's hot buzzword, cloud computing, refers to applications that users access over the Web \n\nand which live on physical servers hosted by the software vendors or a third party, not \n\nservers owned and cared for by an in-house IT department. \n\nToday, most large companies use a mix of both traditional apps that they run on premise and \n\nsome that are hosted offsite, such as Salesforce.com's sales and CRM-related apps. Enterprise adoption of SaaS applications has been aggressive. According to a CIO.com survey on \n\ncloud computing, 84 percent of respondents are currently running SaaS-type applications. \n\nMeanwhile, a survey published earlier this year by Kelton research found that 73 percent of \n\nlarge companies have already or plan to adopt SaaS technology in the next 18 months.\n\nA shift away from on-premise apps has implications for how companies staff their IT \n\ndepartments in the future, according to CIOs and IT industry executives. Change is afoot for \n\ndevelopers as well as the thousands of IT support and maintenance professionals taking care \n\nof traditional software at companies of all sizes, in all industries. \n\nCase in point: Tim Davis, CIO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, a national fast food chain based \n\nin Atlanta, only has six IT people on staff and not one production server on premise. With \n\nno production servers or apps to run, says Davis, "Three [people] are dedicated to making \n\nsure the restaurants have whatever technology they need. The rest are project managers and \n\nmanage our relationships with vendors." \n\nVendors See a Radical Shift\n\nIn the future, say vendors, more IT professionals will be working for them, not for CIOs at \n\nend-user companies. And they'll all need new skills. That goes for developers as well as \n\nsupport staff.\n\nDevelopers have been through big transitions in computing before (remember the move from \n\nmainframe computers to the PC?). Within the IT industry, vendors are preparing for a new \n\nround of upheaval as CIOs roll out offerings from the likes of Google (with its Google Apps) \n\nand Salesforce.com that let users run applications via the Internet. Zoho, a SaaS vendor \n\nthat does most of its development work in India, offers a plethora of applications, including word processing, \n\nspreadsheet and presentation software.\n\nAlong with the consumerization of IT\u2014the idea that people expect applications at work \n\nto look like the Web technologies they use at home (such as Facebook and Google)\u2014the \n\nSaaS trend will force many IT professionals to rethink their skills and the value they bring \n\nto their companies, says Jeffrey Kaplan, president of THINKstrategies, a consultancy that \n\nhelps companies adopt SaaS applications.\n\n"Unfortunately, most developers have built enterprise applications to meet their current \n\nsystems environment and the end user was very secondary," Kaplan says. "Now, the end-user \n\nexperience is the driving factor, because end users determine whether or not the application \n\nis considered successful." \n\nIn addition, maintenance veterans who handle the plumbing of IT could see their job options \n\nstart to recede as maintenance responsibility shifts to the vendors who supply the \n\napplications. That reality can be both a challenge and an opportunity for the IT industry, \n\nsays Peter Coffee, director of platform research at Salesforce.com.\n\n"If you're in the ecosystem of working on staple, on-premise software, you can take care of \n\nfeeding and watering those systems," Coffee says. But in a SaaS-based world, "those \n\nlow-value tasks no longer need to be done [onsite]," he continues. Instead, he adds, you'll \n\nwant your IT staff "to be the IT equivalent of special forces." \n\nKen Venner, senior VP and corporate services CIO at communications semiconductor company \n\nBroadcom, says such IT special forces might build new features that fit a company's specific \n\nneeds on top of SaaS apps, or manage the relationships between two or more SaaS vendors who \n\neach provide technology to the same company, making sure their systems talk well with one \n\nanother. "Working with vendors will really become ever more critical," Venner says. "One of \n\nthe skills that will start to reduce is core infrastructure skills." \n\nThe Post-Modern IT Department \n\nAt Popeyes, the idea of a SaaS-driven, plug-and-play IT department is more than a dream. \n\nToday, says Davis, not all of his apps are SaaS-based. A SaaS vendor, by his definition, is \n\na company that provides the software over the Web, hosts it and charges a subscription fee \n\n(generally per user per month). Popeyes owns the licenses for some of its software, and \n\nworked out a contract with IBM to host and support the servers for those apps. The contract \n\nincludes IBM's hosting of Popeyes' Microsoft Exchange e-mail system along with its Lawson ERP system, although \n\nthe ERP app is managed by a business process outsourcing vendor, Convergys, which performs \n\nPopeyes' accounting.\n\nThe three developers on Davis's team who work on restaurant technology support the company's \n\npoint-of-sale system and are currently leading the search for standard POS systems to be \n\nimplemented by franchisees. (See "Who You Gonna Hire?" for more on currently hot IT roles.)\n\nDavis notes that his contract with IBM will expire in 2009. When that happens, Davis admits \n\nhe could pursue more SaaS options, as these would likely cost him less money than outsourcing to Big Blue. \n\nMicrosoft recently released a SaaS version of Exchange for a mere $10 per user per year. \n\nOther SaaS applications Davis is eyeing include ERP, an intranet and extranet, and CRM.\n\nBut how quickly SaaS might change the staffing landscape for many companies is another \n\nstory. A recent report by Gartner, for example, throws cold water on the concept of ERP as a hosted application.\n\n"Because of the complexity of ERP suites, SaaS offerings for administrative and operational \n\nfunctions typically have provided functionality that is confined to one domain, such as \n\nsales-force automation or one business process, such as payroll," writes Gartner analyst \n\nDenise Ganly. She says it will be five years before SaaS ERP suites are viable options for \n\nlarge enterprises. (For more about vendor migration to the SaaS model, see, "How Fast is the Road to SaaS?")\n\nWhen it comes to SaaS ERP, Ganly continues, a big driver is the IT staff constraints faced \n\nby many organizations. The SaaS model "appeals to organizations because it can free up staff \n\nto concentrate on more-strategic, value-adding processes." Part of the appeal is a belief \n\nthat SaaS ERP is "instant on," which means that it can be implemented with little or no \n\nintervention. "However," she writes, "the business still must be reengineered, processes \n\nredefined, integration points defined and so on. The instant-on perception that drives \n\nadoption also makes it \nan inhibitor."\n\nNevertheless, IT staff are starting to adapt to the new environment. Developers, for \n\ninstance, will have to embrace new programming languages and open Web standards when \n\ncreating enterprise software. "I've got some learning to do in my 50s," says Serena \n\nSoftware's Clement. In some ways, he's already started, as his company has begun building \n\nSaaS applications along side its traditional software development tools. \n\nClement say he has to learn more about Web 2.0 and Java programming, but feels ready for the \n\nchallenge. "My experience has always been that programming is programming," he says. "The \n\nlanguage is sort of a detail. The environment is changing, and while I have fears, there's \n\nnothing more thrilling than working on something that will be relevant for the future." \nMeanwhile, for IT support people who handle enterprise infrastructure and back-end support, \n\nfuture roles might include working in the data center of a SaaS vendor, or helping to ensure \n\nthat a company can integrate various SaaS apps, says Fred Luddy, president and CEO of \n\nService-Now, an IT service management company that runs on a SaaS model.\n\n"Integration will be the main challenge," he says. "IT will be at a higher level."