Cloud Computing – the future in business processes

Industry experts predict that the world market for cloud services will grow from US$40.7 billion in 2011 to more than US$241 billion in 2020. The rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will lead the pack, outweighing the popularity of other services in the cloud.

SaaS is generally attributed to cost-saving measures. The increasing demand for SaaS is enhanced by the call for faster IT processes, as well as improved support for remote users, and better overall user satisfaction with web interfaces. It is primarily used for three main business areas: business processes like CRM and HR, collaborating through message, email, or web conference and industry-specific processes such as managing claims and reporting sales.

In the Asia-Pacific, more organisations are opting for SaaS programs. Instead of buying licensed applications, companies are choosing to get applications on demand – which results in more flexibility of usage. As such, the SaaS market within the region is predicted to grow to over US$4.3 billion in 2015. Australia and New Zealand are the main instigators, followed by India and China, and other places like Hong Kong and Singapore.

The most widely-used applications for SaaS mode in the region are CRM, ERP, and collaboration programs. But as the market grows stronger, other applications such as HRM, e-learning, and e-procurement platforms are predicted to grow.

However, there are still various concerns for SaaS as such as data security and lack of bandwidth. These challenges could be addressed by a stronger involvement of the vendors, coupled with an increased understanding by end-users.

Nevertheless, CIOs are advised to make sure that their SaaS applications fit their organisations and are used in the right way. Care must be taken in implementing SaaS to avoid costly project failures, which can result in higher long-term costs. For instance, some considerations need to be made regarding the business value of speed and flexibility, which varies with the type of SaaS application. Organisations are advised to assess the long-term value of SaaS for their companies.

Despite some restrictions, SaaS seems to be making headway: but only time will tell its utmost relevance.