SaaS has become the way of the world for enterprise application delivery. The vast majority of enterprises now trust the software-as-a-service model for everything from niche applications to mission-critical tools.
However, SaaS applications are a bit of a double-edged sword.
The cloud-based model offers the agility necessary to stay ahead of digital demands, with improved reliability and security compared to years past. However, no matter how many improvements vendors make, you’ll always sacrifice the inherent control of on-premises infrastructure when going SaaS.
Ignoring SaaS benefits isn’t an option. You just have to take the necessary precautions to stay in control of the double-edged SaaS sword.
SaaS Control Is All About the Users
When you’re migrating mission-critical apps to SaaS, a solid service-level agreement will likely drive your vendor assessments and help you make sure your users’ best interests are included.
While SLAs are critical for safeguarding your business against security failures and solidifying reliability expectations, your prime focus when migrating to SaaS has to be the end-user experience.
Adopting SaaS takes menial maintenance tasks out of IT’s hands — yet, your IT department will still be on the hook every time an end user experiences latency or delays. Worse yet, users might keep their complaints bottled up so IT never has a chance to address issues.
Even the strongest SLAs won’t save you from end-user experience issues that are rooted in your own missteps in implementation. You have to be prepared to monitor end users to get out ahead of any performance issues.
Flawless Infrastructure Doesn’t Always Mean Flawless Performance
One of the greatest advantages of SaaS is infrastructure simplification. As more mission-critical apps go SaaS, you can remove more physical machines from your infrastructure and free up valuable IT resources.
That doesn’t mean that SaaS implementation is completely effortless. You still have to ensure the application is synced to your enterprise directory service, you have to provision users properly, and you have to create the right virtual (or hybrid environment) on the backend.
Despite all of your best technical efforts, even flawless infrastructure can prove imperfect from an end-user experience perspective.
Controlling the end-user experience means having visibility into the performance of your SaaS applications (whether they’re mission-critical or used in smaller volumes). The SaaS provider might promise high performance, but you’re ultimately accountable from the end-user perspective. You don’t want to be flying blind in the face of bandwidth issues and data loss.
SaaS may never perfectly match your on-premises environment in terms of control, but the ends justify the means. As long as you can stay in control of the double-edged SaaS sword, your end users will stay happy, and both IT and business teams will praise the simplicity of cloud infrastructure.