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Roundup of Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Forecasts, June 2011

The gap is beginning to close between the value SaaS-based applications have the potential to deliver and what customers are achieving.

While SaaS-based software vendors are making major strides in integration, reliability, system performance and usability, it is the enterprise buyer’s skepticism and high standards forcing the market to move forward.  The latest series of market forecasts and surveys reflect greater use of actual customer results and a quickening pace of progress.

Performance-Driven Cultures and SaaS Adoption

Measuring business outcomes using industry standard and company-specific metrics typifies companies getting the best results.  A lack of clarity or confusion around strategy based goals leads to low adoption and eventual abandonment of SaaS initiates.  Sales and sales operations VPs are winning the debates against home-grown or internal system development based on speed of deployment, usability and integrated analytics of SaaS applications.  Based on the surveys and research completed this year, the best SaaS implementations are designed on a firm foundation of measurable results including quantifying risk.

Performance-driven cultures have a higher success rate with SaaS pilots, are more thorough in defining their own infrastructure (IaaS) and platforms (PaaS), and also know what success looks like from a metrics-driven standpoint.   The graphic, Performance-Driven Culture: The Metrics Continuum, shown to the left, was originally published in Gartner’s Predicts 2011: Enterprise Architecture Shifting Focus to Business Value Outcomes Report, November, 11, 2010 Philip Allega, et.al supports this point.  Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

Hype is Prolonging the Peak of Inflated Expectations

The bottom line is all really matters is measurable, repeatable performance when enterprises evaluate their SaaS strategies.  Many marketing, sales, sales operations and service VPs must defend their choice of SaaS over legacy system upgrades or internal system development.  Resistance to change and complacency in IT is slowly killing many companies who must step up and keep pace with their customers to survive. People are betting their jobs on this technology.  Many in marketing, sales and service want to know how to improve and measure business strategy performance.  That’s one of the main inflexion points in SaaS marketing today.

 The reality for enterprise users is that nothing gets purchased, no matter how wonderful the claims, unless there are strong metrics that link them back to business performance.  That’s what is deflating hype in this market faster than any other factor.  You can download the Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing 2010 from the link (no opt-in).  Please click on the graphic to download the Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing 2010.

Here are short summaries of the latest cloud computing and SaaS forecasts published recently:

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