by C.G. Lynch

Will SaaS Have a Friend in CIOs?

May 30, 20082 mins
Enterprise Applications

As budgets become tighter, the need to get IT people off pesky maintenance issues so they can drive innovative projects becomes more essential, making software as a service (SaaS) offerings an even more compelling option for CIOs.

Even a year ago, there seemed to be some skepticism about what SaaS could do in comparison to traditional, on premise enterprise software. The criticisms centered around a one size fits all offering that doesn’t customize properly to businesses. Others were concerned that their data wouldn’t be safe being housed outside their company.

But now it seems SaaS (or cloud computing, as the buzz word now goes) seems to be catching on, and one of the biggest allies could be CIOs themselves. A recent survey comprised of 100 respondents (many from the Fortune 500) seems to reflect this gravitation towards SaaS. It said that 73 percent of business had begun using (or planned to use) SaaS in some sort of way, and it polled mostly IT executives.

Yesterday, we interviewed the CEO of a SaaS vendor, Callidus Software, who said that a good portion of his customer base has been CIOs, instead of merely line of business managers circumventing the technology department by using a corporate credit card. Reasons? They were tired of having IT people manage servers and infrastructure, and spending lots of money on it to do so. SaaS seemed a welcome escape.

Meanwhile, we keep reading about this shaky economy where managing costs in technology will be especially important. Will SaaS breakthrough even more during the next year to help remedy maintenance issues and free up IT to work on what’s important?