Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides significant pre-built capability that can generally be consumed with extreme speed. SaaS services combined with rapid sourcing and service management integration allow the business to integrate additional capability with a significant reduction in in-house development. Business units can typically experiment with cloud SaaS services quickly in order to find the right fit for the requirement. These services grow in capability quickly with minimal maintenance.
Software packages are increasingly becoming available in both a traditional software offering for local deployment and management, and a cloud SaaS service capability for rapid consumption. As these packages continue to be deployed locally the responsibility for the infrastructure and application currency remain with the customer, i.e. functionality increases require the regular deployment of time and cost intensive patches and releases. However, with the use of the SaaS model, the service provided will always be at the leading edge of functionality and currency available – often with minimal change required by the consumer.
SaaS is typically an organisation’s first venture into cloud technologies, which often occurs without the knowledge of Central IT due to the ease of SaaS adoption; business units will simply leverage this capability directly as it is seen to be significantly faster than the services that Central IT can provide. This leads to a significant number of SaaS services being consumed with insufficient governance and control.
SaaS providers are increasing providing a wealth of pre-built capabilities ready to consume. Ensuring appropriate governance is in place is key to enabling the business to consume new services quickly, whilst keeping risk to a minimum.
The approach to service management tends to start changing here as well. Given the organisation doesn’t have visibility to the infrastructure, the configuration database would not describe it. However, configuration items can still be created to represent the service, and their status/availability updated based on the SaaS providers’ status API, or through a synthetic transaction monitor. Either way, the relationships of the SaaS application to other business applications and functions can still be mapped and understood.