Dark Side of SaaS (Part 2)

SaaS (Software as a Service) has been making waves in the enterprise world of IT. Major software vendors like Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle are rapidly shifting their primary models of licensing from the legacy “perpetual” model over to the SaaS model.

To explain the difference between perpetual licensing and SaaS, imagine we are getting a car. In this scenario we can either buy a car outright and become responsible for its maintenance and upkeep. Or we can lease a car and in a perfect world would enjoy all the benefits of a vehicle while leaving the maintenance and upkeep to the car manufacturer. In this oversimplified model, buying a car stands for the perpetual model of software licensing while leasing a car represents SaaS.

SaaS sure has its perks

SaaS has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity with some great benefits like:

  1. Always up to date software
  2. Lower overall costs around maintenance and upkeep
  3. Lowered dependency towards on premise equipment
  4. And the “goodie bags” that are known as bundles

Let’s take a deeper look at bundles and their implications in SaaS offerings.

Welcome to the Bundle

Many SaaS offerings in the enterprise are a collection of former “stand-alone” applications that have been “bundled” or combined into one package. Take Office 365 E3 for example which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint, Yammer, Skype for Business and more all under one offering.

Bundles are intended to provide more bang for the buck and make purchasing a complete set of tools easier than on a one by one basis. However, before getting too exciting about finding your next software bundle, keep in mind that there are some tradeoffs that are worth noting.

But wait there’s a catch

Software bundles sound great and can be cost saving, however they require users to master and use multiple applications for a company to actually get a positive ROI out of the technology investment. With bundles like Office 365 users can have their plates full in learning to use anywhere from 5 to 10 applications. Moreover, in our same Office 365 example, this task can become substantially more difficult when entirely new applications are introduced (think Delve, PowerBI, and Planner).

Per BetterCloud’s State of Cloud IT 2016 report, the average number of applications a user encounters in their work environment is expected to more than double in the next year from 8 to 17. *highlight in separate box*

Companies invest more and more in the promise of what technology can do for their business, but the rapid race for digital transformation can disappoint when users fail to actually use the tools that are purchased for them.

Avoiding the pitfall of the bundle

Educating users on how technology can make their lives easier is the first step to overcoming the bundle challenge. Guided learning that walks users from the first steps of becoming familiar with an existing or new application all the way to becoming a power user increases their active usage of your investments and ensures you realize an optimal ROI.

Feel free to provide feedback or reach out to learn more about the benefits of guided learning.

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