SaaS 'improves business agility' but security concerns remain

Software as a service is helping some organisations to become more agile and responsive to market needs by offering new functionality on-tap, according to senior IT figures speaking at a SaaS event attended by leading UK CIOs.

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Software as a service is helping some organisations to become more agile and responsive to market needs by offering new functionality on-tap, according to senior IT figures speaking at a SaaS event attended by leading UK CIOs.

Organisations including Gloucester City Council and Experian told delegates at the CIO Executive Forum that the speed of deployment with SaaS was proving a major benefit, since change could happen so much more quickly than with standard software implementations.

Analyst David Bradshaw of Ovum also told delegates that SaaS offered advantages because it allowed software to be easily tested for its usefulness before making a final decision about whether to embed it in a firm’s working practices.

He said the key for many businesses was to be able to speedily deploy “good enough” software. “Rather than waiting two years to get 100% of what you need now, it means you can have 80% of what you need straight away. A lot of businesses prefer that.”

Experian, the credit checking agency that has grown rapidly through acquisition in recent years, said SaaS had proved crucial by enabling it to quickly deploy systems across its new businesses.

“One of our key imperatives was to get the most from our acquisitions. We needed to move quickly and SaaS suited us,” said Nigel Hodges, the company’s CRM strategy manager.

Hodges said using SaaS meant the IT department only needed to set up and manage configuration, which saved time compared with standard implementations. But he warned that some divisions of his business, particularly those that had created their own software, were “sensitive” to the idea of changing to standard software online and it wasn’t always an easy sell within the business.

But Glynis Morris, contact centre manager at Gloucestershire council, said that SaaS could also give departments within a business more control and make them less reliant on the IT function.

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