CIOs Flip for Cloud SaaS

September 22, 2016

Contributor: Christy Pettey

CIOs must focus on adding valuable services to complement SaaS usage.

The ease of adoption of cloud software as a service (SaaS) is increasingly leading business-unit managers to make cloud buying decisions independently of one another and independently of any central authority.

According to Janelle Hill, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, this approach reflects greater freedom of choice for these business units and may improve time to market. However, it can seriously hamper combined value to the enterprise.

Read More: 5 Steps to Closing SaaS Security Gaps

“Independent and uncoordinated journeys into cloud SaaS mean the goals, selection approach, initiation and ongoing implementation of services will be fragmented at best and siloed at worst,” said Ms. Hill. “A coordinated, service-centric approach has the advantage of enabling multiple business units to benefit from joint decisions and shared support for all of the various SaaS solutions.”

“ By 2025, 55 percent of large enterprises will successfully implement an all-in cloud SaaS strategy.”

This is a transformation to a very different world for the CIO and the IT organization. In this scenario, the focus of the CIO’s office flips from the issues associated with owning and providing technology-based solutions to adding valuable supporting services to complement the usage of SaaS. The office of the CIO should focus on becoming a cloud brokerage, offering value-added capabilities, including help desk/support for cloud SaaS solutions, integration skills, and procurement and contract management skills for cloud usage.

The area of help desk/support services, in particular, is an opportunity for a centralized IT help center to better partner with other shared-service teams (HR, travel and expense, procurement, accounting), as it's not always obvious if the issue is technical or functional. This amounts to a shift from being a cost center into a value center relationship with the business. This shift will expand CIOs' engagement with business leaders, enabling earlier participation in planning for strategic innovation and growth initiatives.

Gartner estimates that by 2025, 55 percent of large enterprises will successfully implement an all-in cloud SaaS strategy. CIOs should focus on the services that will make an immediate difference to business consumers adopting SaaS.

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