“There’s a fundamental difference between software moved to the cloud and software born in the cloud,” according to Aaron Levie, CEO of Box.net in a recent blog post on Forbes.com.
In prior posts, we discussed how many legacy enterprise software vendors are attempting to enter the SaaS market by simply hosting instances of their existing, antiquated on-premise applications. In this post, we’ll investigate the differences between this type of software, and those solutions that were designed and built specifically for cloud delivery.
Why On-Premise Software is “Broken”
There are many issues with traditional approaches to software delivery. There are the enormous upfront expenditures caused by complex licensing and hardware requirements, as well as the long and resource-intensive deployments. Then, there is the vicious cycle of complicated and costly upgrades that often call for assistance from pricey third-party consultants. Add to that the limited flexibility, poor integration, and infrequent introduction of new features and you’ve got many unhappy customers who are looking for a better way to consume software.
But, the large enterprise software vendors are tied to their current systems. Tossing them aside and starting from scratch isn’t feasible, as it would negatively impact their revenues from sales, support, and consulting. So, they jump on the SaaS bandwagon through hosting. But, the major problems still remain.
Pure SaaS to the Rescue
According to Levie, emerging solutions that were born for the cloud are coming from smaller innovators, who are creating tools that do more than just modernize software delivery and utilization, they truly make it easier for employees to do their jobs, from anywhere on any device. These applications “fundamentally rethink the purpose and spirit of the desktop-centric software that came before them. They’re more open. They’re more social. They can scale to meet the needs of small businesses and large enterprises alike.”
In the past, there have been concerns – unfounded ones – about security. But cloud-based solutions like Google Apps have proven that employees can collaborate beyond the firewall in a highly secure fashion.
Levie believes that by embracing cloud-based solutions, IT organizations give their employees more freedom, and encourage them “to use a platform that’s flexible, intuitive, and integrated with other business applications, meaning they’ll stay within IT’s oversight.” In other words, they’ll relinquish some control, but in the long run, prevent users from going around them.
The experts agree that companies who want to fully exploit the advantages of SaaS must choose a solution that was created with SaaS in mind, not one that was built for on-premise deployment, and simply “moved” to the Web.
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