With IT budgets contracting under the weight of the recession, the sales pitch for software as a service is sounding more attractive than ever.
SAAS can help organizations quickly roll out new applications, avoid large upfront capital investments, and expend fewer application management and maintenance resources moving forward.
However, the qualities that make SAAS an attractive model for acquiring and consuming applications can introduce a host of new wrinkles for organizations that choose them. A key issue revolves around application reliability, which includes ensuring both the availability and sufficient performance of the applications on which organizations depend.
For one thing, SAAS vendors deliver their wares over the public Internet, which means these applications perform differently from applications that run on local clients or over an organization's internal network. What's more, the fact that SAAS applications are hosted and maintained by external parties means that companies have less visibility into the workings of these services than they do with applications hosted on-premises.
Because of the nontraditional delivery method and relatively black box operation of SAAS applications, IT departments must approach their responsibilities around ensuring application reliability a bit differently from what they are probably accustomed to doing.
A successful strategy for ensuring SAAS reliability must include attention to users' expectations and needs, the health of the network, the architecture and practices of potential SAAS vendors, and the tools and services that can be used to measure and monitor the SAAS applications that your organization consumes.