Feature

The Great Awareness Gap: CIOs and SaaS

When IT executives hear the phrase "Software as a Service" (SaaS), they may have one of the following impressions of this Web-based, remote-application delivery model:

  • "Here's another buzz-phrase I should probably know about."
  • "SaaS is a pre-mainstream technical software issue that I am not overly concerned about."
  • "SaaS is but a modification of the conventional software industry business model that I've dealt with for years."
  • "SaaS is a means to quickly and cost-effectively deploy software functionality throughout my enterprise."

The 140 responses from this month's CIO Habitat indicate that for many executives, SaaS is all of the above. If it fulfills its promise, SaaS could become a litmus test for the core organizational competency of capitalizing on technological innovation. But SaaS remains deeply misunderstood.

"Many users fail to even investigate [SaaS] as an alternative when evaluating software alternatives," says Priscilla Emery, founder of e-Nterprise Advisors, an IT consultancy in Longwood, Fla. "Of course, that could be because the vendors that offer it are not necessarily the best marketers." If SaaS is more than just a new mode of software development and/or licensing model, vendors' marketing efforts thus far have failed to convey its differences.

This was first published in October 2006

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