Two years ago Krish wrote about Questions To Ask Before Trusting a Cloud Vendor. His focus was largely infrastructure, security, data ownership, privacy and service level. He listed 14 questions, not because it was some magic number, but he had to stop somewhere
Earlier this year fellow Enterprise Irregular Brian Sommer nailed it down to 9 Questions every SaaS vendor needs to be able to answer, focusing on practical concerns of CIOs he interviewed: global rollout, local regulations, integration, change management just to name a few. One of the questions – not so much a question but expectation CIOs posed to Brian was:
When will larger application suites appear on the cloud?
Here @ CloudAve we’ve often anticipated that SaaS will repeat the on-premise cycle, larger integrated Application Suites will win at the Enterprise.
Today the CTO of one such Suite provider (well, not a full Suite, but on the way), Workday’s Stan Swete came up with his own 5 Things Large Enterprises Need To Know About SaaS and as the official LazyBlogger, I’m quoting quite liberally from his post:
- Integration. A core system delivered as SaaS will need to integrate with many applications. Large enterprises are acutely aware of the high cost of building and maintaining integrations, and they’re not sure whether cloud computing makes the issue better or worse. A SaaS provider worth talking to has worked through the issues and offers more than just an API and consulting services to support enterprise integration.
- Performance and Scalability. Global enterprises bring a high level of complexity to this requirement. With a workforce spread throughout countries around the world, a SaaS vendor must account for performance outside the walls of its data centers and beyond regional high-bandwidth connections, to encompass performance across the global deployment. A SaaS provider should be able to explain to prospects and customers how the system it demos in San Francisco will behave when it is accessed in production by workers in Beijing.
- Local Data Processing and Data Privacy Regulations. Security is always the primary concern in SaaS conversations, but for larger multinational firms the discussion goes beyond data security to include the SaaS vendor’s ability to understand varying local data processing and privacy regulations, and assist customers with complying with these regulations wherever they do business.
- Configurable Business Processing. Large enterprises need to know that they can configure process automation to fit their business. Business processes can vary by organization or by geography in a big company, so it’s not good enough for a SaaS provider to merely change a standard process once for the customer. And, it should explain how it can deliver this configurability without breaking the SaaS model.
- IT Involvement. For core enterprise systems, a large company’s IT department needs to be involved and in control of the deployment. Even though SaaS moves mechanical maintenance responsibilities to the vendor, the IT department retains the role of data controller. If the SaaS is too much of “black box” solution, IT can’t retain this ownership.
14 … 9… 5… these are all important questions to consider. And now back to that hammock (in my dreams only)