According to Gartner research, by 2020 all new entrants and 80% of historical vendors will offer subscription-based business models. The challenge, says Ryan Barlow, Chief Information Officer at e4, is navigating the change management challenge for effective deployment of SaaS (Software as a Service) within organisations.
He says that e4 recently completed its own migration to Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365, which was a success thanks to careful planning and addressing the change management component of the process: “According to Gartner, addressing SaaS change management is ranked among the top five SaaS challenges for technical professionals. This is easy to believe when you consider the unique nature of SaaS and the resulting challenges that emanate when implementing. There is a clear need for new change management strategies for SaaS to be successfully implemented,” say Barlow.
A lack of trust at the outset needs to be addressed. Moving confidential company information into a cloud, effectively off premise, is not exposing the company nor does it increase its risk: “We need to gain a better understanding of the benefits this approach brings as opposed to simply focusing on the perceived risks. IDC predicts that 60% of cloud spend by 2020 will go to SaaS deployments. The trend is there and if businesses want to reach their full potential and compete effectively, transitioning to SaaS is essential.”
Barlow says that cloud services are among the fastest growing platforms in the world. He admits that while costs may seem prohibitive, the ultimate payback is significant: “Today’s C-level executives face far bigger obstacles than ever before, but they need to be overcome if the company wants to remain relevant. Learning to thrive in a rapidly changing IT environment will greatly assist in developing competitive market advantages.”
SaaS, according to Barlow, brings with it accessibility, improved versatility and reliability of software solutions: “SaaS offers agility and improved cost effectiveness, while being extremely secure. It’s pervasive connectivity assists when streamlining business models. There is also tremendous value when hosting off-premise.”
Essentially, SaaS will free IT professionals of the daily grind of traditional software, while assisting in better overall management of IT operations. Barlow says SaaS, and in fact any other cloud application, will offer enhanced scalability, a pay as you go approach, better security and reduced risk: “The latter is ironic. Once the initial distrust is managed, SaaS is seen as more stable and reliable and less risky.”
The time is now, and the need is urgent for IT professionals to embrace cloud platforms, and SaaS in particular. He cautions that adequate preparation is critical and that a fresh approach to change management is critical.
“Like with any implementation, research is essential, ensure you know what your business requires and who would be best suited to deliver the solution. A phased approach is also advisable before launching company-wide,” says Barlow.