Circumventing IT to deploy SaaS can have unintended circumstances, warns Big Blue

Almost half of organizations that use software-as-a-service (SaaS) are not only reducing expenses, but also gaining competitive advantages such as improved workplace collaboration and getting goods and services to market faster, according to a recent survey.

“Leading enterprises — those gaining competitive advantages through broad SaaS adoptions – are collaborating more effectively through social business tools, improving customer experience and accelerating time to market through their SaaS initiatives,” said IBM, which recently polled some 800 IT and business decision makers worldwide.

The results of the survey come at a time when many analysts predict enterprise expenditure on SaaS solutions will explode over the next three years and much of it will be done by business leaders, with little involvement by IT leaders.

Global spending on SaaS is expected to reach $45.6 billion by 2017, and some industry estimates indicate that company chief marketing officers will spend more on IT than chief information officers.

For instance, analyst firm Forrester Research reports that 65 per cent of business leaders have plans to purchase technology for their group without involving the IT department at all.

Such a development comes with inherent risks, according to IBM.

“…circumventing IT to deploy SaaS without provisioning and securing it first can have unintended circumstances, and IBM’s study suggests that organizations in which IT and business leaders work together to secure and deploy SaaS applications are in fact the ones who deliver the greatest value to their organizations,” the company said in a statement.

One in five companies surveyed by IBM deployed SaaS broadly and is gaining competitive advantage as a result of the strategy.

Compared to peers that have come late in the game in SaaS adoption, early SaaS users are:

  • 79 per cent more likely to have increased collaboration across their organization through SaaS
  • More than twice as likely to have leverages analytics across the organization to turn big data into insights
  • More than twice as likely to have increased innovation using SaaS

“It is common knowledge that deploying SaaS broadly has economic advantages, but the truly innovative companies have recognized that SaaS delivers real competitive advantages to fuel top line growth, as well,” said Craig Hayman, general manager for industry solutions at IBM.

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