The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

SaaS Is Here: Get Over It IT!

SaaS Is Here:  Get Over It IT!

Apr 17, 2013

There was a long time ago I could pretty much build my bike from scratch.  Yeah, I could assemble everything, that’s easy.  Putting on gears, lacing up spokes onto wheels, getting the brakes on.  I even used to pick out the individual ball bearings that went into my bikes.  Then came a day when the ball bearings got sealed into cartridges making them last longer, roll smoother and easier to maintain.  In a couple years, hydraulic brakes for road bicycles will be here.  The industry has gone past my ability to build my bikes from scratch.  I can still do most of it, but for the highly technical pieces, I rely on an expert mechanic.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with one of my clients about whether they should “buy it or build it.”  Really?  I honestly didn’t know those conversations even happened anymore.  I really thought all the conversations these days were about should we use SaaS or stay on premise.  I was reminded about this as I read the 2012 HR Technology Survey from Cedar Crestone.  One of the charts noted the differences between HR, IT and executive perceptions and challenges to move to SaaS.  Number 3 for HR and Executives?  Security and Data Privacy concerns.  Of course that was number 1 for IT.

I remember when I used to work for ADP a number of years back.  This is old school, but their tax service center was in San Dimas, California… quite at risk of a major earthquake.  It was in California for a number of reasons – primarily I assume because it gave them an extra 3 hours to file taxes in the U.S.  But while ADP’s state of the art tax facility was at major risk of earthquake damage, their backup facility was somewhere on the other side of the San Andreas fault in Arizona.  I remember talk about power lines coming in from all 4 external walls, just in case some guy with a backhoe ploughed through power lines on 3 sides by accident.

I also love conversations about data security.  Let me be blunt: unless you are Citi, Amazon.com, or Walmart, you probably don’t have an entire organization dedicated to data security and the upkeep of your SAS-## (whatever it is these days).  I’m sure you can do security well, but the chances you can do it better than the organization that does it as their core business, stop worrying about it.  Back to ADP for a moment – I remember always having a personal chuckle moment when a client or prospect said to us that they had their own tax accountants, and felt better about that than using ADP.  Guys, let’s be blunt again.  ADP has probably hundreds of tax accountants, and they are probably better than yours.

Just like taxes are not your core business, you probably don’t host servers as your core business either.  SaaS is here.  Get over it IT.

4 comments

  1. I totally agree with your assertion that an end user is unlikely to be as good at security as businesses whose whole business depends on it. However, this does not imply that the level achieved by these businesses is the same. What you’re asserting is that security is binary whereas it’s more nuanced than that. The standards Rackspace / AWS etc offering is certainly probably better than most end-users but some clients do have legitimate reasons for wanting higher levels and there are other cloud providers who can meet those needs, you just end up paying for them.

    The issue with today’s SaaS landscape is that if you have legitimate needs for a higher-than-standard security / resilience you might find that none of the key providers can meet them. What we’re left with in many fields is no real alternative than SaaS because the market has shifted there. If you legitimately do need something other than standard you’ll struggle – most SaaS providers have focussed on good-enough.

    I’m not arguing that a cloud provider is likely better than their clients, just that not all cloud providers are equal.

  2. ++ Andrew Marritt. Always smart comments!!!

  3. SaaS is opening up the ability for small business to have the reporting and management ability of what was traditionally only available to large businesses with full time IT staff, simple up to date software that “just works” is the true benefit of SaaS, being able to implement with fixed costs and known metrics are the major benefit. SaaS is the future.

  4. SaaS may not be the panacea for all problems around IT.

    However this relatively new delivery model helped millions of Small Business across the world to cut down time and cost required for process automation.

    More importantly most of the True SaaS ventures offer simple and affordable solutions for small business with outstanding customer service

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