A SaaS-First Approach to Application Portfolio Management

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    -by Mark Settle, Chief Information Officer, BMC Software


    2010 was a watershed year in the evolution of the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry.  Worldwide sales of SaaS tools within the enterprise application software market exceeded  $9B. The industry bellwether — Salesforce.com — continued to grow its revenue  dramatically. A variety of IT research organizations predicted that by 2014 SaaS products  would account for more than 40 percent of all new software sales. By any reasonable  measure, SaaS is now considered to be an acceptable and, in some cases, a desirable  means of supporting a company’s business operations.


    SaaS is Here to Stay

    SaaS tools were originally considered to be niche  products, largely confined to the CRM (Customer  Relationship Management) segment of a company’s  application portfolio. SaaS products have matured  considerably over the past ten years and are now  available to suppor t back-office and mid-office  operations as well. A variety of SaaS tools support  human resources functions, such as recruiting,  contingent worker management, performance management, succession planning, payroll and bonus  administration, and so on. SaaS products have also  expanded into procurement and financial management functions, supporting such activities as pricing,  quoting, order processing, tax and tariff administration, and currency exchange operations. SaaS capabilities have even crept into the IT function. Several  companies, including BMC Software, offer tools for  service desk operations, project portfolio management, vendor contract management, budgeting and  forecasting, and compliance administration that are  specifically designed for IT organizations.


    Why SaaS?

    BMC’s IT organization has implemented at least one  new SaaS application per quarter since the first calendar quarter of 2009. We have realized several  benefits through large-scale adoption of SaaS tools.  The hard benefits associated with SaaS are well  known to all IT professionals. SaaS products are  built, hosted, maintained, and operated by the SaaS  vendor. This approach can absolve IT of responsibilities for hardware procurement and installation,  availability and disaster recovery management, and  application maintenance and development. This  transfer of responsibilities has enabled us to reduce  the size of our data center and achieve savings in  hardware depreciation and maintenance, cooling  requirements, power consumption, and operator  support. In addition, we have been able to repurpose  several members of our applications teams into  business systems analyst roles since their former  responsibilities for software coding and testing are  now being performed by the SaaS vendors.


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