In the past five months I have visited over 75 clients on three continents, not counting 32 individual meetings with CIOs and staff during our recent Gartner Symposium in Orlando. An interesting and recurring statement I am hearing from IT and business leaders is that, barring serious discounting, SaaS vendors are charging too much money for the business to convert their applications wholesale over to the Cloud model with these vendors.
Few IT leaders are rejecting SaaS as a delivery model. They like the idea, and hope that there are more case studies of high scalability with high transactional levels and real time integration/synchronization with legacy systems. But they are voicing reservations because they don’t see robust installations in key areas such as insurance claims, reservation systems, core banking, telecom call centers or government agencies. They are also beginning to plot the long-term costs of adding multiple component parts from a consortium of vendors in order to complete a solution.
Maybe in 2010 we will see someone other than Salesforce.com and RightNow Technologies in the CRM OnDemand space. The vocal support of the large integrators would go a long way in boosting confidence. So would demonstrated competency from Oracle and SAP and Microsoft in the high end Customer Service space, versus low interaction areas such as sales force automation.
The initial glow of SaaS is still very much lighting the way for the enterprise, but for this to turn into a stable market at the high end of complexity a lot more economic and technical validation is necessary.
If you have interesting / auditable examples that fit the high scale and high complexity contact center model – let’s say over 300 simultaneous agents handling a high volume of customer service calls and integrated with CTI, billing, and fraud, and driven by business rules – and where the economic modelling shows strong support for SaaS over perpetual / on premise alternatives – send them over, or just talk them up outside of your business!