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Software as a Service

Special report

Here to serve

To complement the preceding report on Cloud computing, Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of leading industry spokespeople about Software as a Service; a software deployment model that is stimulating accelerating interest within the business-to-business software solutions space.

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ccording to a Gartner survey published earlier in the year, over 95 per cent of organisations expect to maintain or grow their use

of software as a service (SaaS). Survey respondents cited significant integration requirements and a change in sourcing strategy as the top two reasons for adoption followed by high total cost of ownership (TCO). Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner, makes the point that SaaS applications are clearly no longer seen as a new deployment model by the survey base, with almost half of those surveyed affirming use of SaaS applications in their business for more than three years. “The varying levels of maturity within the user base suggest growing opportunities for service providers along the adoption curve, as organisations seek assistance with initiatives ranging from process redesign to implementation to integration services,” she said.


IT December 2010 Interpretation

But what exactly is SaaS; can it be clearly defined as a concept? Gavin Clark, commercial manager at Synergy Logistics, believes that, with all terminology, the interpretation of SaaS is different across users and vendors. He makes the point that many business users are confused by the different offerings made under the banner of SaaS. However, by way of clarification, he offers the following basic definition: “In simple terms Software as a

Gavin Clark, commercial manager, Synergy Logistics.

Service allows businesses and individuals to access the software applications their business needs on an on-demand basis, normally via the web.” He adds, however, that this is very different to the traditional software offerings, normally client server- based, that reside off-site and are delivered to a business via Terminal Services or products such as Citrix. “True SaaS solutions are specifically designed to operate on the web, utilising the latest in Web Native technologies to take advantage of all the benefits, without the inherent issues associated with legacy solutions deployed via the web,” said Clark. “The more forward- thinking software vendors will also have aligned their commercial offering with the principles of SaaS and would typically be charged on a monthly basis with short term contracts available.”

For Clark, the clue is in the name: “Consider the last word in the acronym SaaS – >>

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