29 January 2014

Early adopters of cloud-based software are seeing clear payback: IBM

IBM has announced that nearly half of the businesses using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are achieving competitive advantage, rather than simply reducing costs, according to a recent global survey involving with more than 800 IT and business decision makers that was conducted by the IBM Center for Applied Insights.

The study confirms that SaaS is delivering on a wide array of benefits, on top of lowering total cost of ownership, and shows that organisations that strategically and collaboratively deploy SaaS are able to execute on programmes that drive business growth better than their peers who lag with SaaS deployments.  

Princess Cruise Lines, which organises cruises in Southeast Asia among other destinations, originally turned to SaaS to save money and benefit from increased efficiencies while gaining instant access to technology resources. 

Over time, the company realised that the IBM Connections social software platform, delivered as a service through the cloud, fostered a more team-oriented environment that encouraged more innovative thinking. Princess uses this as a competitive differentiator in the market to tout its superior customer service, the net effect of a socially advanced workforce.

Nearly one in five companies that responded to IBM’s survey has deployed SaaS broadly and is now gaining competitive advantage as a result. Specifically, compared to peers that are newer or less advanced with their SaaS adoption, these "Pacesetters" are:

·        79% more likely to have increased collaboration across their organisation and ecosystem through SaaS
·        More than twice as likely to have leveraged analytics across the organisation to turn big data into insights using SaaS
·        More than twice as likely to have increased innovation using SaaS
“It’s common knowledge that deploying SaaS broadly has economic advantages, but the truly innovative companies have recognised that SaaS delivers real competitive advantage to fuel top-line growth, as well,” said Craig Hayman, IBM General Manager, Industry Solutions and executive sponsor of the study. 

IBM unveiled the industry’s first cloud-suites for the entire c-suite in June 2013. A series of new SaaS applications were announced yesterday. 

Global spending on SaaS is expected to reach US$45.6B by 2017, according to industry estimates. SaaS is often used by line-of-business leaders who are looking to deploy technology to rapidly provide their teams with needed functionality, increase productivity and address new market opportunities. In fact, industry analysts estimate that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs, while Forrester reports that 65 percent of business leaders have plans to buy technology for their group without involving IT at all.

However, circumventing IT to deploy SaaS without provisioning and securing it first can have unintended consequences, and IBM’s study suggests that organisations in which IT and business leaders work together to select, secure and deploy SaaS applications are the ones who see the greatest payback.

Click here for more information, or to download the full report.  

*To gain a better understanding about how leaders are unlocking competitive advantage through SaaS, the IBM Center for Applied Insights** conducted a survey of 879 IT and line-of-business decision makers in six countries globally, including Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the UK and US. Twenty-two percent of respondents are C-level executives (10% C-level IT and 12% in other C-suite roles). They work in enterprises of varying sizes, 20% with 10,000 or more employees and, at the other end of the spectrum, 40% with fewer than 2,500 employees.