If you are reading this, we have survived the Mayan apocalypse and are entering a new year. Score one for NASA, which correctly noted that December 21, 2012 didn't signal the end of humanity, simply the end of the Mayan calendar. Now we can all turn our attention to the next impending calamity -- fiscal cliff anyone?
While the US fiscal cliff is clearly cause for real concern, for those of us in the SaaS industry this economic cloud may have a silver lining. According to a recent article in eCommerce Times, the cliff could drive even greater adoption of cloud and SaaS services in 2013, continuing the strong growth trajectory in these categories over the past few years.
As an executive at a SaaS solutions vendor, hearing about SaaS’s growing market potential is music to my ears. But as the CTO of a global enterprise, I’m keenly aware of the network security and management challenges caused by its rapid proliferation. Balancing this risk-reward equation is a tricky operation, but eminently achievable if vendors and enterprise IT leaders collectively embrace the new realities of doing business in today’s mobile, borderless world and adapt their mandates accordingly.
Here’s my list of the “ilities” that matter. Some are familiar, some are new challenges, but in all cases we need to rethink our priorities as we enter 2013. I welcome your comments and additions.
We IT leaders know that our roles are shifting from a rigorous technology focus toward a broader business orientation and that accommodating end user success has become our highest priority. I’m seeing the pendulum swing from just producing check-box feature software to allowing the users to choose what software is being used and for what business purpose. This is a good change as long as the other “ilities” are being met to ensure that the solution meets the IT needs for compliance and regulation. And I’m certain that the CIO who ignores their user community or their own policies is the CIO who will not survive the next apocalypse.
The key here is knowing that supporting SaaS-based services in the enterprise is not about ceding control but changing our agendas. Our emphasis going forward must be on proactively managing our IT partners and vendors rather than actively building and constructing our IT systems.
So those are some new realities for SaaS in 2013. The world has not come to a sudden end, but the rate of change of the natural environment is increasing (as evidenced by the largest iceberg breakup ever caught on film -- video below). We know that the IT and SaaS ecosystem will continue to evolve as well. If nothing else, Moore’s law demands it in the very nature of how computing power continues to grow at an increasing rate of change. We IT leaders know that businesses have to adapt to their environments in order to survive the long term, but don’t let that necessary evolution compromise the security of the enterprise.