Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has been with us for some time. But most recently, so many aspects of IT and data centre functionality have headed to the cloud that the moniker Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) has taken root. Anything from CRM to ERP, backup to DR, and security protection to analytics, is moving to the cloud.
This is supported by Gartner research studies that estimate a $34 billion market in 2015 for applications, application infrastructure, and systems infrastructure delivered as public cloud services will total $43 billion this year. Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) dug further into the XaaS trend, predicting that non-core workloads are the ones that business can expect to head cloud-ward fastest. Applications not directly tied to business revenue, therefore, are going to be offloaded sooner or later to the cloud: email, office productivity suites and CRM are prime examples. Even more technical workloads such as test/dev are migrating to Platform as a Service (PaaS) environments.
This movement to the cloud is certainly good news for users. They just open a web browser and log-in to whatever applications and services they desire. But behind the scenes, IT departments could well be in for some headaches and late nights as they endeavour to cobble everything together and maintain service levels.
For some, the solution is to hand everything off to the public cloud. That passes the integration and customisation headache off to a third party, but it often comes at a high cost. Public cloud providers, in general, want to deal with high volume services rather than one of a kind work.
Thus the hybrid cloud is evolving where basic services such as backup or storage land in the public cloud, while core applications and systems where security or compliance are paramount remain internal, typically in a private cloud.
But for this arrangement to work, IT had better get ready to embark upon a programme of application modernisation, customisation of SaaS software, and integration of disparate software systems so they work together.
It’s all very well to offer a wealth of public cloud services. But if they can’t talk to each other and aren’t tied together, the benefits are greatly diminished. For example, if SaaS CRM isn’t tied into the main sales database, it is likely that the salesforce will bypass it. Worse, they may download rogue CRM applications that can introduce security challenges into the enterprise.
Therefore, it is strongly advisable that whatever the balance of public cloud and private cloud services, the groundwork is done to ensure all systems and SaaS services play well together and provide the business what it needs.
That takes a high degree of skill in the realm of application modernisation, integration and customisation of cloud services – exactly what Ballard Chalmers offers. We stand ready to address your cloud integration, application development and SAAS customisation challenges.
By Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a freelance editor and writer, specialising in the Information Technology sector.