Archive for November 21st, 2007

Is SaaS a competitor to IT?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

I thought Software as a Service was merely another medium for delivering IT to the business users.  Increasing amounts of anecdotal evidence are leading me to conclude that many IT departments think of SaaS as a threat.

I was at a UK telco this week and chatting to the heads of the B2B operation, we chanced upon the topic of Salesforce.com.  I said I was considering switching Blue Prism’s lead generation, sales management and customer support to Salesforce.  I was surprised to hear that this telco had been using Salesforce for a number of months (and were pretty happy with the results).

My first surprise was that Salesforce.com is pervading the largest organisations these days – it’s not just a tool for SMBs.  The second surprise was the reason why this is happening.  I asked what the IT department thought of SaaS.  I was told that IT had proposed a different “traditional” CRM system, hosted internally, but that is was “simply not competitive” so the business adopted Salesforce.com despite the IT recommendation.

If IT is to be seen as just one of many competitors in the external market place, then on average they will lose.  Internal IT functions, it seems, are not set up to sell, to listen, to understand the business, to act quickly, or to focus minds on costs.

But most sadly of all, it seems internal IT departments are losing sight of what they should be doing best. Being an internal, trusted adviser, that leads the operational people to the best IT solutions for the business, whether the solution be internal or external, packaged or built, software or service.