The second annual SaaS Conference, held last week on the UNC Charlotte campus, was not as well-attended as last year, but it did provide great insight into emerging trends in the SaaS sector as well as cloud computing in general.
While IT old-timers contend that SaaS is merely the new name for the Application Service Provider (ASP) model of the ‘90s and therefore nothing new, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a firm new home for SaaS within the cloud computing framework, giving it the credibility that ASP never had.
Gartner, one of the presenters at the event, has been tracking trends and issues in the SaaS sector for nearly a decade and indicated this week that SaaS is more mature than the more recent phenomenon of cloud computing, however both are certainly here to stay. Gartner also stated that it’s currently unclear whether cloud computing will follow the same trends as SaaS, but SaaS is definitely a healthy and growing business model. With respect to reduced ROIs, Gartner presented some surprising findings related to the length of time required to deploy SaaS solutions in larger enterprise environments as a result of training and integration delays.
Other topics included a presentation by Womble Carlyle from Sandridge & Rice regarding legal risk and concepts when utilizing third party SaaS providers. Discussions also focused on hidden costs, management overhead, and operational and security risks. In addition, some information was presented regarding which cloud service model (IaaS, PaaS, or private) is the most appropriate methodology for various SaaS deployments.
Thanks to the UNC-Charlotte College of Computing and Informatics for brining the developers, presenters, practitioners, and service providers together for this informative event.
Daniel S. Milburn, CISSP
SVP, COO of Hosting & Infrastructure Services