Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

Bringing SaaS ideas to the planning table: Four CIO tips

CIOs and experts offer advice for IT leaders looking to pursue Software as a Service offerings and share SaaS ideas with an executive planning board.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which business applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to users over a network, typically the Internet or intranet. SaaS ideas and offerings characteristically include easier admin, automatic updates and global accessibility. Other key features allow for easier collaboration and compatibility to ensure each user operates under the same version of software.

When company-issued devices and applications don't get the job done, employees might be more inclined to go rogue. To combat this move toward unapproved tools, CIOs need to secure a seat at the SaaS planning table -- but how? In our March rogue-IT tweet jam, we asked participants:

1. Be the liaison between IT users and business executives

The CIO's involvement in the SaaS conversation gives employees using -- and also those avoiding -- business-provided IT services an opportunity to be heard. According to our tweet jam participants, CIOs should solidify their seat at the SaaS planning table by understanding which rogue technologies employees have chosen and why:

2. Be open and accepting

CIOs are closer to IT users than many of the board members to whom they report, making it easy to fall into the "I know what's best" trap. During SaaS planning, it's important for CIOs to recognize that everybody needs to have a say in the SaaS purchasing process:

3. Communicate effectively

Our tweet jam participants noted the importance of communication, and SearchCompliance site editor Ben Cole emphasized that point:

4. Remove the divide between IT and business

While CIOs have the unique opportunity to serve as the liaison between IT users and business executives in the SaaS discussion, Stuart Appley, CIO at Shorenstein, suggests business and IT become one:

Did our tweet jam participants cover all the bases? What other ways can CIOs ensure they have a seat at the table as business units pursue SaaS offerings? Tell us in the comments section below.

Our next #CIOChat will be on Wednesday, April 30, at 3 p.m. (topic TBA). Follow @SearchCIO on Twitter for updates.

Next Steps

Rogue and consumerization of IT

IT leaders open up about rogue

Dig Deeper on Small-business infrastructure and operations

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

How can CIOs ensure they have a seat at the table as the business pursues SaaS offerings?
I see CIOs role in these discussions to be that of Subject Matter Expert. As a presumption CIO should have enough knowledge about different hurdles, risks, etc, related to SaaS. By actively listening CIO should get the understanding of the various needs of stakeholders and with this understanding and expertise to form a big picture of the needed path to obtaining SaaS solution and potential exit paths for future.