At IBM Connect 2014, IBM announced that nearly half of the businesses using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are achieving competitive advantage, rather than simply reducing costs. Leading enterprises — those gaining competitive advantage through broad SaaS adoption —are collaborating more effectively through social business tools, improving the customer experience, and accelerating time to market through their SaaS initiatives, according to a recent survey conducted with more than 800 IT and business decision makers worldwide by the IBM Center for Applied Insights.1
Global spending on SaaS is expected to reach $45.6B by 2017, according to industry estimates. SaaS is often used by line-of-business leaders who are looking to deploy technology to rapidly provide their teams with needed functionality, increase productivity and address new market opportunities. In fact, industry analysts estimate that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs, while Forrester reports that 65% of business leaders have plans to buy technology for their group without involving IT at all.
However, circumventing IT to deploy SaaS without provisioning and securing it first can have unintended consequences, and IBM's study suggests that organizations in which IT and business leaders work together to select, secure and deploy SaaS applications are in fact the ones who deliver the greatest value to their organization. Further, organizations that are gaining the most out of their SaaS deployments are more likely to see it as a critical piece of their enterprise cloud strategy when compared to their peers.
Nearly one in five companies that responded to IBM's survey has deployed SaaS broadly and is now gaining competitive advantage as a result. By developing mature and cohesive enterprise-wide SaaS strategies, these Pacesetter organizations are able to improve market agility, achieve a deeper level of collaboration and make better decisions than their peers. Specifically, compared to peers that are newer or less advanced with their SaaS adoption, Pacesetters are:
- Seventy-nine percent more likely to have increased collaboration across their organization and ecosystem through SaaS
- More than twice as likely to have leveraged analytics across the organization to turn big data into insights using SaaS
- More than twice as likely to have increased innovation using SaaS
The study confirms that SaaS is delivering on a wide array of benefits, on top of lowering total cost of ownership, and shows that organizations that strategically and collaboratively deploy SaaS are able to execute on programs that drive business growth better than their peers who lag with SaaS deployments.
"It's common knowledge that deploying SaaS broadly has economic advantages, but the truly innovative companies have recognized that SaaS delivers real competitive advantage to fuel top-line growth, as well," said Craig Hayman, IBM general manager, industry solutions and executive sponsor of the study. "Whether they are using it to enter new markets, transform or create entirely new business models, or improve relationships with their customers and suppliers, pacesetting organizations are embracing SaaS in a meaningful way."