As my blog title implies, I work in the Fusion Applications world. We've done numerous implementations of Fusion HCM now, and all of them have been in the cloud. We are convinced that cloud services are the future and have staked the bank on it!
I study the various debates about SaaS (or cloud services) and find myself time and time again coming back to this simple view of why people choose a SaaS service over an on-premises application. Some of the more technical questions like "is it true SaaS?" often
don't really mean much to a customer. If it's not on-premises it's SaaS
(see previous blog).
To me the answer's simple... you buy SaaS because the hard work has been done for you by the service provider (like buying the hardware, maintaining the software, data compression, encryption and a whole load of other stuff I don't need to understand etc.). You buy SaaS because it's simpler than doing it in house, and should be cheaper.
But another argument I see more and more is that if the "Service" you subscribe to doesn't do exactly what you want and you can't "customise" it. Well, that's a whole different topic (don't get me started) where the SI's value to their customers is about product knowledge - or should be, to maximise the system's capabilities through configuration.
But, back to the topic in hand... when choosing systems we get hung up about the trivial and don't place enough emphasis on the important. For example, maybe my payroll system calculates everything I need to pay people, but for some reason doesn't have the capability to automatically produce a payslip in the format I want. Is that a showstopper? Probably not, because I can extract my data and format it using another tool. Not perfect, but it works.
OK, so let's look at this in a different way. Let's think about something which may be more relevant to our daily lives than purchasing subscriptions to cloud services - buying a car.
When we buy a car, we usually do some research, maybe put together some requirements for the vehicle - model, engine size, colour, interior styling, sat. nav., tyre size, A/C etc. Then we go to the dealer and take a test drive and find out how much it's going to cost us. Some things will be more important to us than others. Maybe leather seats are a 'must have', but a 12 speaker surround sound system or a cigarette lighter isn't so important. But, ultimately we buy the vehicle and it probably doesn't have everything we wanted and it certainly has stuff we don't want in it! So what! We just don't use what we don't want. But we do still pay for it and it's there if maybe one day we might want to use it.
So, why do people get so hung up about the software they purchase (or rather, subscribe to)? In the car analogy, I get most of what I want in the car, a lot of what I don't want, but ultimately it does the job for me better than any other vehicle within the parameters of my original requirements and my budget. What's more, it comes with a 3 year warranty so I don't have to worry about anything going wrong.
I think subscribing to a SaaS service should be looked at in the same way as the car purchase. Go for the best fit to your requirements (I challenge you to name me any system that meets everything you wanted) and don't worry about the extras that you won't use - although they are there if you change your mind later.
Worry about the important things, and don't get hung up about the trivial things that don't really matter - like the cigarette lighter.
Just a thought... I like keeping it simple.