Report: Businesses, consumers having difficulty defining SaaS

February 23, 2012

Businesses are using cloud-based solutions like Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service to gain the cloud's immense range of benefits, yet the definition of cloud computing is still blurry for some enterprises and consumers.

According to a recent report by The Register, companies and consumers have been using SaaS for years, but only now are these services being associated with the term "cloud." Many enterprises are migrating traditional programs like customer relationship management and business intelligence to the cloud, yet a large portion of users don't even realize popular online applications are cloud-based.

"Things like Facebook and Hotmail are SaaS, it's just that we don't think of them that way," Zane Freame, a technology expert at Content and Code, told the source. "As a concept, SaaS is not a hard sell. The consumerization of technology means that people often have access to better smartphones and computers in their personal lives than at work. SaaS gives companies the opportunity to bring the latest and greatest apps to their organization to meet the needs of their users."

James Griffin, directory of product strategy at a United Kingdom reseller, told the technology news source that it's nearly impossible to draw a definitive line between SaaS and the cloud, as both are industry names for IT and communications services. According to Freame, SaaS enables enterprises to accommodate employees' desire for flexible, on-demand applications without spending significant funds on hardware, software licenses or IT management.

Many technology experts predict businesses will increasingly use SaaS to deploy CRM, email and human resources applications, among others, across multiple employee devices. According to market research firm Gartner, 27 percent of companies use SaaS to augment their business intelligence solutions, and that figure is expected to increase during the next few years.

-McAfee Cloud Security