We might start seeing a decline in the number of articles that simply state that cloud computing is “on the rise.” Of course it is. Forrester’s James Staten recently pointed out that that with all of the advantages that cloud computing provides, “it will increasingly be difficult to justify not leveraging cloud services.”
Staten does describe the “hypergrowth” that cloud computing is currently experiencing, but he takes it a very necessary step further by detailing what specific aspects of the cloud are providing the greatest value, and are thereby experiencing the most success. “The cloud” alone is not the answer your business problems, or anyone’s business problems for that matter. Salesforce’s Peter Coffee speaks on this concept frequently, and he describes that it’s the connectivity that the cloud enables, for those who take advantage of it, that’s providing the real boost for enterprises today.
I had the chance to interview Peter, and he summarized what “the cloud” can provide, for those who do much more than simply move to it. Peter remarked:
It’s really important to get beyond cloud and start thinking about, “Wait a minute, what do I have to do to step up my game? To be a value creator by using this medium of connection, by using processing power and algorithms of discovery and analysis, to create a kind of customer experience, or the kind of government first-response in a disaster, or the kind of life-long delivery of education that were never really feasible to discuss until we had this remarkable atmosphere in which we breathe data and breathe computational power whenever we need it.”
So what’s the secret to getting that kind of connectivity? How do you take advantage of “this remarkable atmosphere” that Coffee describes as the enabler of the “life-long delivery of education?”
The secret begins with moving to the cloud, but it comes to full fruition by adopting robust SaaS solutions that enable your business to evolve and grow at the speed that the today’s hyper-competitive market demands.
According to James Staten, of the $58 billion in revenue that the public cloud services marketplace exited 2013 with, “the bulk of this market’s revenues come from Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions which accounted for $36 billion.” Staten goes on to note that while replacing existing licensed software is becoming more common, today, “SaaS has grown primarily in the form of new categories of applications that complement existing core, transactional solutions.”
That sentence alone is what makes the most sense in trying to understand the massive role that SaaS solutions are playing in today’s market, and will continue to play in the market of tomorrow.
Many of the best SaaS solutions compliment your “existing core, transactional solutions.” Moving to the cloud is a major step for any business to take, but it’s not the complete elimination of the “old guard” that may seem daunting for those who haven’t yet made the move.
Something else Staten points out that I really love is in describing how agile today’s best SaaS solutions are, and how they enable their users, infrastructures, and entire organizations to increase speed, quality, and overall agility, too. Staten writes:
As these services are consumable by-the-drink, they free organizations from the traditional licensing constraints that are misfits with elastic or transient applications. They are also managed and enhanced by vendors as often as daily delivering new capabilities that can help a company maintain pace with the changing desires of an empowered customer base.
It’s not terribly surprising that a look into what reasons organizations have for moving to the cloud shows that, predominantly, cost savings is the driving factor. What’s interesting is what trumps cost when it comes to truly giving businesses the advantage they need to thrive. IT Jungle’s Alex Woodie uses a recent study by IBM to show that while:
41 percent of the organizations surveyed reached their cost-savings goals. What was surprising to IBM is the fact that 47 percent of organizations reported that SaaS was driving competitive advantage.
As the countless advantages that SaaS solutions offer become more widely known, or perhaps even expected by enterprises, the old way of thinking that “the cloud” on it its own solves problems will slowly fade away. There’s far more than “cost savings” to be found in high quality SaaS applications, and as their adoption continues to rise, the quality of the software they help build will increase grow just as quickly.