EPM Live Prevents Service Management Loss In The Cloud

With the release of Gartner Inc.’s 2012 Magic Quadrant for Cloud-based Project and Portfolio Management Services, a bigger spotlight has been placed on SaaS applications. Here at EPM Live we see the SaaS trend in our customers. Not only is the IT industry changing and heading into the cloud but many organizations are moving all business processes to a SaaS platform. Organizations are quickly realizing that adopting the cloud computing model may be inevitable for some and represents a classic case of the earlier, the better. However, many critics have underlined concerns over the future of service management in a cloud computing environment.

Does the cloud theory of everything-as-a-service compromise on service management? Does the cloud model adhere to service management SLAs like the traditional on-premise solution model? Let’s find out.

Is Service Management needed in Cloud Computing?

Of course, it’s needed. Cloud or no cloud, service management is a key requirement to ensuring quality of service. While the cloud model may offer higher reliability and flexibility than the on-premise approach, it is not 100% safe from incidents.

Therefore, it is crucial to have service management processes in a cloud environment. The principles of Incident Management, Problem Management and Change Management are just as important in a cloud environment as in an on-premise solution.

None of the ITIL best practices get eliminated by moving to a cloud-based model. The organization still needs a service desk and it still requires service level measurement and reporting.

SLAs in the Cloud

Since the infrastructure and computing resources are offered by third-party vendors, the Cloud model is a great proponent of implementing SLA (Service Level Agreements) for effective service management.

It is important to understand the business requirements for performance, availability, scalability and cost in order to provide the cloud infrastructure for an organization. The Cloud model calls for a strong paradigm shift from component level reliability to service level reliability.

SOA offers Endless Possibilities

The Cloud Computing philosophy is built largely on SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) which offers endless possibilities to software development organizations. SOA allows organizations to build a strong focus on high availability and optimal performance by benchmarking the user experience.

SOA is bound to increase the dependencies in an organization; therefore it calls for stronger service management. The SOA model simply shifts some of the service management responsibilities from the organization to the cloud provider. It also calls for a strong centralized policy management service which makes it easy to monitor the health of the cloud and solutions running on top of it.

Service Management is all about monitoring the health of your IT infrastructure. It does not matter if the health check is being done on an on-premise infrastructure or one that’s hosted in the cloud. All that matters is that the health check is crucial and can’t be overlooked by any organization.

Service Management is after all, the silver lining in the Cloud!

Gartner Positions EPM Live in SaaS PPM 2012 Magic Quadrant

Gartner Inc., a global leading information technology research and advisory company recently released their much anticipated 2012 Magic Quadrant for Cloud-based Project and Portfolio Management Services outlining the best online PPM solutions on the market today. In the report, which places EPM Live as the only challenger in the Cloud-based Project and Portfolio Management Services space, they explain the direction of the market and offer up reasons why an organization would want to make the switch to a SaaS provider.

EPM Live’s SaaS-based PPM software is able to support both types of Gartner defined customers, project execution level and project portfolio level.  EPM Live also specializes in supporting all departments and verticals such as IT, Project Portfolio Management, New Product Development, Application Lifecycle Management, Professional Services Automation, etc.  EPM Live’s numerous integrations allow organizations to bring all work into one centralized location for overall visibility and insight. 

According to Gartner, vendors recognized as “challengers” in this Magic Quadrant, “resemble Leaders in many ways, such as product depth and breadth — combined with enough experienced product development, sales and marketing personnel to effectively reach and meet the needs of the market.” Gartner goes on to say that the same characteristics that apply for Leaders can be applied to Challengers. “Challengers, however, appear as such mainly because they may have recently embraced PPM SaaS as their main business model, or that model and general practice, although the focal point going forward, has not eclipsed their other business models, which may include a history in on-premises and/or hosted PPM software implementations.”












Supporting the challenger diagnosis, EPM Live CEO Joe Larscheid states “Although SaaS has taken the market by storm and will continue to be the front runner in modern PPM deployments, EPM Live will continue to hold its position as the leading Microsoft SharePoint-based PPM on-premise software on the market as well, allowing us to support both markets and giving our customers the flexibility and deployment options they need to make them successful.  We believe the fact that we are recognized for both SaaS and On-Premise software is a true affirmation of our vision and intent to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and changing market.” 

Gartner explains in the report, “Cloud, a style of computing in which scalable IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers using Internet technologies, enables rapid deployment of solutions anytime and anywhere. SaaS is software-owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. It enables rapid delivery of PPM solutions that balance standardization and configurability. To balance the need for standardization and configurability, these service providers tend to provide their offerings as cloud-native (designed initially for the cloud) or cloud-optimized (whereby the underlying software has been refactored or redesigned for cloud use). These lighter-weight offerings provide the core functionality desired by mainstream PPM leaders, and have evolved as cloud-based PPM services. These services have rapid time to value, and minimize financial commitment and risk. Strong demand for these solutions will persist for at least another year.”

 There are many reasons why an organization would want to move their business to a SaaS solution, I analyzed many of them in my previous article, “The Long Term Value of SaaS PPM Applications – An EPM Live Analysis,” and below you find a few of those previous mentioned as well as those supported by Gartner in the latest report. 

  1. Time to market- A PPM solution is needed now (less than 30 days) for process automation, reporting and standardization. 
  2. Minimal customization needed- At the current time of implementation, heavy customization is not required and in depth integrations are not necessary to receive ROI out of the toolset. 
  3. On premise functionality is not required now or in the future.
  4. Security- The security levels that can be met by an online application meets the security needs of the organization. 
  5. Limited funding- Most SaaS software can be obtained for much less than an on-premise model.  Cost models for SaaS are typically based on monthly payments and require less upfront fees, no internal infrastructure costs and less resources.
  6. Low organizational maturity- The organizational maturity level may be low which means that comprehensive and complex functionality could overwhelm your users.  SaaS will allow you to adopt the functionality you are ready for immediately and grow as your organization matures. 
  7. Limited users- SaaS is a great option for small organizations that need 50 licenses or less.  With EPM Live, the license model is such that large organizations can take advantage of the SaaS offering as well and still reap the benefits.
  8. Low cost, low risk POC (proof of concept)- Many organizations don’t have a lot of funding upfront and are hesitant to dump their funds into a POC that will consume their budgets.  SaaS is a perfect option that allows you to get up and running now online with little or no upfront costs.  

EPM Live’s online PPM solution aligns directly with many of the proposed SaaS qualification points. EPM Live understands there are many levels of users across an organization and those users have different work, different processes and different PPM maturity alignment. We have successfully completed implementations for large organizations which increased user adoptability within the business. EPM Live allows organizations the ability to define and enforce Enterprise requirements while allowing individual teams the ability to customize their solution to work the way they work, ultimately increasing ownership and adoption of PPM technology. EPM Live is flexible, easily configurable and gets your organization the best price value. EPM Live specializes in bringing all work into one centralized platform so there is less of a need to use segregated tools within the enterprise. EPM Live offers a free 30-day trial of our online Project Portfolio Management solution, so get started today! 

The Long Term Value of SaaS PPM Applications – An EPM Live Analysis

By now everyone has heard of  “the cloud” or “SaaS” (Software as a Service).  Its on-demand, flexible and can save you time and money. But information on the long term benefits of moving your business to the cloud has been less available still casting a cloud of doubt for many organizations. EPM Live understands the confusion surrounding cloud apps and in this article I will take a in-depth look at the benefits, the risks, costs and ROI for cloud applications.

Cloud applications continue to gain popularity in enterprise applications but there are still many questions surrounding the cloud, what are the benefits and what is the ROI for organizations who are leveraging them? I recently read a paper from Forrester on the ROI of cloud Apps. Forrester’s recent budgets survey showed that 51% of firms plan to increase spending on software-as-a-service, while only 9% plan to decrease spend.

Companies are attracted to fast deployment speeds, low upfront costs, and ongoing flexibility to scale up or down as needs change. Many SaaS solutions also offer a more user friendly UI than their on-premise competitors due to their more recent introduction or the providers’ ability to rapidly update the UI through automatic, seamless upgrades.

How do you know if leveraging cloud applications is the right move for your company? In the Forrester article they offered up their Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) model, four key questions to help companies determine the ROI of cloud applications.  

 1. Benefits – How will your company benefit from cloud applications?

2. Costs – How will your company pay, both in hard costs and resources, for cloud applications?

3. Risks – How do uncertainties change the total impact of cloud applications on your business?

4. Flexibility – How does this investment create future options for your organization?

Key Benefits of a cloud application include:

(In a recent survey, Forrester found that 26% of cloud subscribers plan to increase the number of cloud vendors they work with over the next year.)

· Faster deployment speed

· Reduced support needs (SaaS providers typically include a help desk in the subscription reducing or eliminating IT support)

· Simpler, more frequent upgrades

· Better user adoption


Key costs on SaaS Applications:

The primary cost associated with cloud applications is the ongoing rental fee for using the application, often per user per month or usage-based. Cloud applications require more focus on contracting, SLAs, and performance management. That being said, there is a significant reduction of other costs such as internal infrastructure and hardware requirements.  Many cloud applications don’t offer full suite solutions meaning firms often face a fragmented, multiple application landscape as they move more and more technology to the cloud. This multivendor environment means additional costs for areas like integration, provisioning, end user support, upgrade management, testing, and workflow.  EPM Live does offer a full suite of solutions including PPM, application lifecycle management, new product development, professional services automation, etc.  Overall, the cost of EPM Live’s SaaS solution is significantly less than an on-premise deployment. 


What are the risks?:

No new trend is ever without risk. Here are two key risks to consider; Vendor viability as the market shakes out, and Vendor lock-in. Vendor viability risks are increased as this early market moves at such a fast pace. Users can become “hooked” on user-friendly cloud applications. Business users may strongly resist switching from an application they like. Also, most vendor switches will require data migration and implementation costs to move to a new solution.  Businesses will always be faced with ongoing decisions such as upgrading, adopting new trends, and investing in the latest and greatest technology.  As mentioned before, every decision can result in a risk; however, to maintain competitive advantage and scale with the times, businesses will find that the benefits far outway the risks. 


The Cloud Business Value:

Forrester released a quantitative assessment of the economic implications of cloud applications. They evaluated the key drivers of benefits, costs, and risks for an organization moving from on-premise to the cloud. Forrester found that the Total Economic Impact Analysis for CRM cloud applications are 20% ROI payback between 12 and 24 months, for ERP applications a 6% ROI payback in more than 2 years, and for business productivity applications Forrester found a 27% ROI payback between 12 to 24 months.

In this early market of SaaS applications and with the highest ROI of the three business sectors analyzed in Forrester’s research it’s no wonder many companies are leveraging business productivity applications. At EPM Live we believe in the power and flexibility of the cloud and unlike many vendors on the market today our online solution is a full suite application for the entire organization. Besides our core Project Portfolio and Work Management solutions, EPM Live is also leveraged by many organizations for New Product Development and Professional Services. Our apps allow organizations to bring all work and all departments onto one centralized platform increasing productivity, viability and user adoption. To learn more about SaaS PPM and how EPM Live’s online solution can help your business join us for our free upcoming webinar, SaaS PPM – How Do You Know When It’s Right For You? or read one of previous articles, a comparative analysis on SaaS vs. On-Premise