Software-as-a-Service: Moving Beyond the Buzz

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Over the past few months I’ve noticed a constant theme running through my conversations with many customers—they want choice. While this certainly isn’t new, it has become a more prominent issue as they think through their IT investment plans for the coming years. For many customers—big and small—this may mean considering a combination of on-premise and off-premise—or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions.

As businesses continue to grow and address the new challenges presented by the economy, SaaS may give them added flexibility in how they manage their technology investments by providing access to world-class technology, infrastructure, and people. SaaS can also give organizations the ability to predictably control a large part of their IT costs and reduce risks when deploying important new infrastructure capabilities. Many of the early adopters, including Symantec, have discovered the benefits associated with out-tasking some of their most critical information management challenges to allow their internal teams the ability to re-focus on driving innovation.

The potential benefits of SaaS are obvious. However, you must carefully evaluate the partner you select to ensure there is strong alignment between your goals and their delivery model. Make sure that you have service level agreements in place that allow you to entrust data to an online service, ensuring that the service and support will be available when you need it. You should also expect a SaaS vendor to be a leader in IT infrastructure offerings and have a disaster recovery plan in place that ensures the security, reliability, and availability of their applications and data. Lastly, look for a solution that is easy-to-use and doesn’t require additional IT staff or infrastructure investment.

This issue features an exclusive interview with Tom Lamming, senior vice president, transformation, at Australian media-communications giant Telstra, as well as features on IT GRC (governance, risk management, and compliance) and IP convergence in the communications segment. I also encourage you to check out the new Online Extras area for CIO Digest, which includes an article on SaaS.

The coming year may prove to be one of the most exciting in the IT industry as we look to take full advantage on the many new services to be delivered. And we look forward to working with you as you explore this new horizon.

John W. Thompson
Chairman of the Board and CEO, Symantec Corporation