SaaS is Dead, Long Live SaaS

The title of this post is based on a monarchial concept of succession. It seems very fitting to the situation I see unfolding in the debate about the future of software as a service (SaaS). The move to outsourcing led to offshoring, which then evolved to cloud and SaaS.

It does not have to be a direct progression, but each end created a new beginning.

Another way of looking at it is this: WordPress, Google and Salesforce recently reported major outages. The reason many companies hoped to put their applications into the hands of those companies was to avoid major outages. So what is new?

With this in mind I read an InfoWorld review of a report by Gartner on how to approach the risk in SaaS. The author asks Is the SaaS experiment finally over?

Gartner advises its clients to perform extensive diligence before signing with any SaaS vendor. That includes not just weighing the costs and benefits of a specific solution, but also developing an in-house SaaS governance policy to help gauge the solution’s real-world performance. Such a policy should be a collaborative effort between business and IT, Gartner says, and it should consider not just the business performance of a given SaaS vendor, but its technical and operational capabilities as well. That means SaaS vendors will need to be transparent enough in their operations to instill customer confidence in their offerings.

That is good advice no matter where your application lives. Moving software outside the company still leaves you with the responsibilities of managing software, and introduces new challenges (instead of eliminating) to control security concerns such as availability.

The answer to the author’s question is therefore yes, the SaaS experiment is finally over and now begins the SaaS experiment.

In other words the SaaS should deliver fair services, but if not then hopefully the next SaaS will be fair, and if not, then hopefully things will progress…long live SaaS. All is not over or lost when there is succession. Things really can change for the better. For example, analysts from Gartner and I will discuss soon how best to put forth a more discrete set of requirements for cloud security. Dragging out my tired analogy of political systems just a little longer, I hope I can help Gartner customers clearly see why they need a Magna Carta of cloud. Remember how that worked out for the monarchies?

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