The recent economic recession has really reignited the SaaS debate as organizations are typically under a lot more pressure to switch to more cost-effective ways of getting work done. SaaS by definition is software-owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers and is provided to customers through internet technologies. As you are probably aware cloud computing is gaining a lot of media attention, many organizations are now contemplating making the mainstream switch from on-premise Project Portfolio Management (PPM) to a SaaS model.
SaaS was originally designed to aid small organizations in implementing technology that would give them the ability to easily configure, customize and scale PPM services within their organizations. Now it has become a more intriguing option for large organizations as well and in many cases is preferred.
As always, there is no “one size fits all” approach in software, so it’s illogical to assume that the SaaS model is perfect for everyone. Whether you decide to leverage a SaaS or on-premise PPM model depends on a large number of factors. Many PPM vendors do not invest in offering both a SaaS and on-premise solution to their customers, EPM Live believes in meeting the needs of every user regardless of size, budget or maturity. EPM Live gives customers the power to choose the deployment option that works best for them.
SaaS PPM Benefits:
Benefit #1: Faster time to market. SaaS solutions leverage a ready-made platform which has already been provisioned, implemented and tested by your solution provider. That means that organizations are able to get started quickly and even prove out the PPM concept early without the need for a large investment up front and in many cases without the need for executive buy in. SaaS also simplifies provisioning and reduces deployment complexities. In most cases moving the financial aspect from capital expenditure to operational expenditure also speeds up the approval process. A faster time-to-market implies quicker return on investment (ROI).
Benefit #2: Low entry cost. SaaS is a no-frills model; therefore, it offers a much lower entry cost as compared to an on-premise solution. In fact, in many cases, SaaS solutions are a fraction of the cost required to procure, deploy and manage as an on-premise solution. You pay for what you use and for nothing else. Costs are reduced simply by eliminating the need to meet hefty infrastructure requirements as well as purchasing software licenses. Most SaaS solutions have an out-of-box configuration that is ready to use also giving organizations the time to evaluate the system prior to spending additional money on customizations and services. In addition, cost can be reduced overtime due to lower upgrade costs for SaaS models.
Benefit #3: Scalable foundation. Most SaaS vendors offer flexible subscription pricing models based on user roles and functionality. As your enterprise grows, the SaaS solution can be scaled up accordingly and just in case your enterprise shrinks (hopefully not, but it happens), the SaaS solution can be scaled down accordingly. The best part is that you are never stuck with oversized infrastructure and unused resources.
SaaS offers a dynamic approach to managing computing infrastructure and resources. Organizations with low maturity can also benefit from SaaS, as the organization’s maturity level increases, additional features can be leveraged.
Benefit #4: Lower risks. Your SaaS vendor will take care of infrastructural risks and will ensure high-availability for your organization’s needs. Implementations are faster and involve fewer risks simply because they are handled by third party experts. Because most SaaS solutions have an out-of-box implementation, you can ensure that PPM best practices have already been considered in the functionality design. In addition, since SaaS solutions are structured by user, you can add and decrease licenses as you go versus purchasing software up front, eliminating the risk of excessive license purchases.
Benefit #5: Increased security. SaaS solutions are extremely secure. Security is one of the top concerns for any SaaS solution provider and they have a reliable and secure infrastructure in place for varied customer needs. For an on-premise solution to match the security of a SaaS solution, it requires a major investment. In addition, most SaaS vendors offer automated backup services to ensure your data is always safe.
Benefit #6: Reduced resource requirements. Because the operational requirements of supporting and maintaining both the infrastructure and software are offloaded to the service provider, the IT department can now focus on other critical tasks. Resource workload is not affected and the team managing the system and its structure are both trained and qualified to take over all system maintenance and support.
Benefit #7: Support as a service. Software as a service is just that, a service. Along with access to the software, you are typically entitled to some form of support within the price of the monthly fee. If users are easily supported, you can expect adoption to increase. As with any solution model there are always disadvantages to consider. With SaaS models, internet stability is required for tool usage and performance.
Resistance to change or fear of the unknown (leveraging new up and coming applications) may also play a role in SaaS adoption. Internal security requirements may prevent SaaS usage and/or complex design requirements may force organizations to choose an on-premise solution. Make sure your organization is considering all the pros and cons when making a deployment decision.
SaaS Financial considerations:
In order to accurately estimate the costs associated with SaaS PPM, you have to ensure you have considered all of the following:
1. Subscription cost—How many licenses will you need for executives, team members, etc.?
2. Set up cost—SaaS PPM allows end-user customization in order to align the system with your specific business needs; however, it is typically usable right “out of the box”. If your organization has complex business processes that need to be automated, you may want to consider set up configuration support service costs.
3. Implementation services (training per role)—Some PPM SaaS solutions (including EPM Live) offer multiple training programs for end users, managers and admins. These training programs come in various formats including online courses, how to videos, forums, user guides and instructor led courses. Many of these services are offered at no cost to the user and others are put in place to ensure your organization is getting the proper training you need for maximized user adoption.
4. Consulting services—Consulting services are optional for SaaS. If your organization is looking for best practice guidance or maturity assessments for example, you may want to bring in the experts.
5. Technical services—Some technical services are included in SaaS licensing; however, additional services are always available to clients. For example, email and phone technical support may be provided while one-on-one support and ticket priority may come with an additional fee. Follow on training and technical support for future configuration or development would also be considered when determining technical service fees.
To learn more about SaaS PPM check out our latest webinar, “How Do You Know if SaaS PPM is Right for Your Organization?”.