Anyone who still believes that the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement, along with the broader cloud computing phenomenon, are just the latest over-hyped technology industry trends should take a good look at the results of Datamation’s recent survey in conjunction with THINKstrategies.
Our quick online SaaS poll attracted fifty-three (53) respondents, of which forty-four (44) or 83% are currently using one or more SaaS solutions. Eight out of the remaining nine are considering them. Nearly all of these expected to adopt a SaaS solution within the next six months.
Current users of SaaS and those considering SaaS solutions were equally likely to be trying to fill an unmet need or replace existing applications. More results:
• Nearly 60% of the survey respondents have adopted or are considering horizontal applications.
• Less than 10% were looking at or utilizing industry-specific SaaS solutions only.
• The remaining 30% are taking advantage of or considering both horizontal and industry-specific SaaS apps.
The survey respondents were most often driven to adopt these alternatives in an effort to eliminate additional infrastructure and staff costs. Respondents were also seeking software continuous updates/upgrades, accelerated deployment and the subscription, pay-as-you-go pricing model.
• Over 80% of the survey participants said application features/functionality is the key criteria for selecting a SaaS vendor.
• The SaaS pricing model, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and customization capabilities were important to approximately 40% of the respondents.
• Of the current users, 84.8% reported they are very satisfied with their SaaS solutions and only two respondents said they were dissatisfied.
The satisfied users got what they were looking for – reporting lower infrastructure costs and staff support requirements were the primary benefits which they had derived from their SaaS solutions. Higher productivity, more systematic software updates and upgrades, greater functional capabilities, and improved application reliability and performance were also identified as important SaaS benefits.
• Eighty percent of the respondents using a SaaS solution said they would renew their services.
• 61% said they would expand their use of SaaS.
• Nearly 70% said they would recommend SaaS to others.
Unhappy SaaS Respondents
The two respondents who were not happy with their SaaS solutions reported that the functional capabilities failed to meet their needs and didn’t generate additional productivity improvements. They also reported lower application reliability and performance, higher costs than anticipated, greater staff support requirements, and no systematic software updates and upgrades.
Although the number and proportion of survey respondents who were disappointed with their SaaS experiences was relatively small, their feedback serves as a valuable reminder that SaaS solutions aren’t a panacea. While the majority of users have been satisfied with the benefits which they’ve derived from their SaaS solutions, it is essential for IT and business decision-makers to carefully evaluate their prospective providers to be sure they can meet their expectations.
It is also important to note that approximately 80% of the survey respondents were from organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees. However, the remaining 20% who work in larger organizations were unanimously satisfied with their SaaS experiences.
SaaS Gains Acceptance
Our survey lends further proof that SaaS is not just the latest over-hyped tech trend. Instead, SaaS solutions are gaining acceptance and growing adoption among organizations of all sizes because they are delivering tangible business benefits to users, and these solutions are meeting the needs of organizations of all sizes.
Kaplan is Managing Director of THINKstrategies (www.thinkstrategies.com), an independent consulting firm focused on the business implications of the on-demand services movement. He is also the founder of the SaaS Showplace (www.saas-showplace.com) and Managed Services Showplace (www.msp-showplace.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.