A recent study by CIO Insight, an eWEEK sister publication, asked CIOs to name their top technology priorities for 2009. Only 13 percent put SAAS in their top five.
What Price Outages?
As we've seen from the recent Salesforce.com outage, SAAS is not perfect. You may save a few dollars, or even a few thousand dollars, off the bat, but the solution won't be perfect. This underscores the need for SAAS vendors to improve their data center infrastructure, and for IT managers to ensure that their own infrastructures are up to snuff.
According to the latest Evans Data Global Development Survey, more than half of all developers expect to work on programs delivered in the SAAS model during the next 12 months.
Portability and Security
As the use of SAAS applications rises, it's increasingly important to consider the portability and security of the data that will be served and stored on the platform.
A vendor's future viability is always an important criterion. But it's especially important when that vendor is hosting your data, and it's especially important in an economy where even tech stalwarts are faltering.
You also need to worry about whether apps will be around for the long term. Google just announced that it will shut down some of its lesser-used apps, including Google Video, Google Notebook and Google Catalog Search. When a software company shuts down or decides to stop making a product, you still have the software you purchased and everything will continue working the same. Not so much with a SAAS app. And, even if you did get a code escrow agreement, in these times, will you have the computing and manpower resources to get back up and running with that code?
GAPE Up for Resale
Google is broadening the horizons for Google Apps Premier Edition, its business-oriented suite of productivity and e-mail applications, by offering it to resellers.
SAAS or cloud-based e-mail systems are cost-effective for companies or divisions up to 15,000 users, determined Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler, who surveyed IT professionals at 53 North American and European enterprises to find out where they run their e-mail and other messaging and collaboration services.
On its face, the SAAS model is certainly enticing, especially during lean times. But the long-term cost savings question of SAAS is somewhat difficult to determine and can differ by market segment or type of application deployed.
It's important to find out at what level of authority your SAAS provider will turn your data over to law enforcement. Get details on your vendor's—or potential vendors'—track records in this regard.