SaaS Apps Gain a Foothold as BYOD, SkyDrive Adoption Rises

More than 55 percent of users assessed for the Softchoice study said they are currently running SaaS applications on corporate devices.

More than 80 percent of organizations are using some form of remote access app, indicating a trend towards bring-your-own-device (BYOD) acceptance and flexible working environments, according to a survey of 7,199 users across 23 organizations from small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) by Softchoice.

Google’s suite of personal productivity apps is king in the enterprise, with Google Calendar appearing in 83 percent of businesses, Google Docs in 80 percent and Google Drive in 75 percent, although contrary to popular belief, Microsoft SkyDrive is a top contender for online storage with 79 percent enterprise penetration–more than double that of Dropbox.

"SkyDrive’s seamless integration with Office 365, Windows 8 and Hotmail appeals to users but presents a new set of challenges to IT departments," the report said. "With SkyDrive’s tight integration, many users unknowingly transfer and store files in the cloud, posing unintentional risks that IT departments must get ahead of before adoption rates climb higher."

The survey results also indicated that software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications have gained a strong foothold in the enterprise. More than 55 percent of users assessed for the study are currently running SaaS applications on corporate devices.

"Most organizations have little insight into the SaaS applications employees are using at any given time. This lack of understanding often results in diluted or misguided policies surrounding SaaS applications, including blanket bans, which are ineffective and contentious to employees," according to the report. "Instead, organizations must have a clear and complete picture of not only the applications employees are using, but also how and why they are using them."

With SaaS growth outpacing the overall software market, this number is expected to increase, while corporate IT departments simultaneously struggle to determine which SaaS applications are safe and which pose threats, the report noted.

"Ultimately, the rise of SaaS applications marks a tipping point for IT’s evolution from gatekeeper to service broker," the report said. "When managed effectively, SaaS applications are powerful drivers for efficiency, productivity and collaboration improvements in the enterprise."

File sharing applications are common in 58 percent of organizations and the most popular include Dropbox (42 percent of companies) and YouSendIt (46 percent of organizations), which is now called Hightail.

In September 2012, Softchoice had found Windows XP made up 68 percent of operating systems across half a million PC devices, and Windows 7 had a 32-percent share.

In its most recent evaluation, conducted at the same time as the research for this report, Softchoice found that little progress has been made in migrating operating systems. Windows XP still makes up 58 percent of the enterprise environment. Windows 7 now represents 41.8 percent and Windows 8 has a 0.2 percent share.