In a previous blog, I posted some considerations to assist analyzing a business for opportunities to provide a SaaS offering with a focus on the bits that directly impact system architectures to enable the SaaS business model.
In this post I want to continue the thinking in that post but talk about considerations for consuming a SaaS service. This is a very different mindset. Providing SaaS services is about providing SaaS services to make money based on core business capabilites. This post takes a completely different tack and focuses on improving the efficiency of supporting business' capabilities.
Essentially, the approach by Geoffrey Moore is reused but instead of focusing on ‘activities’, business capabilities are used.
Once supporting Business Capabilities are found, here are some considerations to analyze whether it makes sense to consume SaaS software services to enable them instead of rely on your in-house IT department. Although I'm sure that this isn't an exhaustive list, it is what's on my mind at the moment.
· SaaS TCO. Cost/Benefit analysis includes:
· Hardware, Software, People and key ‘ility’ costs such as availability, reliability and maintainability.
· SLE + SLA costs versus local, in-house SLE + SLA costs
· IP Loss analysis. This bit is often overlooked. What I’m trying to describe is the loss of expertise of the systems and, more importantly, the people who manage them that will be lost when they are essentially outsourced to a SaaS provider.
· SaaS Integration Thresholds. Biz process, system and data integration and extension requirements.
· Vendor fit. Typical vendor evaluation but focusing on SaaS characteristics like SaaS platform strategy, SDP maturity, etc
· Local regulatory compliance (eg data). Global and local regulatory compliance compatibility.
· BP change and optimization. Analysis to identify a business’ processes which undergo drastic or moderate change and, therefore, require a highly flexible SaaS service software.
Consuming SaaS services provides a great opportunity to bring value to your business and IT organizations by exploring SaaS and raise opportunities to realize the benefits SaaS brings such as time-to-market and low-cost IT systems.
Mike Walker wrote a great thought-provoking blog post on the implications SaaS has on Enterprise Architecture
I would think a solid approach for selecting and implementing any 3rd party applications (SAP, etc.) would be a good foundation for consuming SaaS. It would need to be extended to meet goals of reliability, security, support, etc. in regard to costs and quality.
Sadly, I haven't found anything comprehensive for the front-end processes that isn't geared to build-it-in-house. Any suggested references?