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HP Software's community for IT leaders // June 2012

Embrace SaaS while strengthening internal IT

SaaS is proliferating through your enterprise—which is a good thing for Ops, if you approach it with the right strategy.

Ops leaders may be unsettled as employees and business units procure their own SaaS and cloud solutions, flying under the IT radar. How can you ensure IT performance when apps and infrastructure are increasingly beyond your reach? And though users might initially manage those deployments themselves, you need to be ready when they eventually return to internal IT for help.
The solution isn’t to cling to the old way of doing things. It’s too late to stop the adoption of software as a service—and you shouldn’t want to. SaaS is a powerful option. The answer is to design a better order that takes into account new tools and user behaviors to create a better enterprise.
In other words, you should understand and influence the change rather than fight it. Here’s how to work with—not against—business units to ensure SaaS benefits everyone.

What’s going on—and why?

First, figure out which SaaS solutions are already being used, and why. What needs are not being met by internal IT? Where you do provide an internal solution, why are your users not taking advantage of it?
Next, consider the SaaS currently in play. Are those solutions actually meeting users’ needs, or they just a quick bandage on their problems?

Users often take a pretty narrow, immediate view of a SaaS solution. For instance, they may not consider issues of data siloing. In pursuing what they want, right now, they may not have considered security, compliance or service levels. There may be waste in terms of duplicative licenses, or multiple solutions to the same problem, rather than standardizing on the best SaaS alternative.

Back the best SaaS

Once you understand the SaaS environment, and having identified the solutions common in your organizations, and the needs that are not addressed internally, determine which SaaS your organization can best support.

  • Study. Start from scratch. Are your users’ current or planned solutions really doing the job, or are those options just the only offerings they know about? Are there other solutions that solve the problem more effectively—and that give you more visibility, control and confidence?
  • Consider integration. Understand how well—if at all—these solutions integrate into your NOC. How can you optimize control or visibility? How can risk and compliance needs be met? You’re already a hybrid delivery IT organization, so what’s your plan for providing the best service in this mixed environment?
  • Examine your resources. Will your team have to manage the provisioning, deprovisioning and user administration of these apps? Do you have time for that, or will it put your SLAs in jeopardy? Do you have the necessary tools to help streamline all of these management tasks?

Solve problems

Internal IT should offer a service catalog that includes preferred IT options. The goal is not to re-assert dominance or reinforce any image of IT as inflexible and unresponsive. Be open to new solutions, but identify the best offerings and explain why they let you provide the best overall IT experience. The Ops team won’t be doing this alone—security and compliance are a factor, your developers will want to have a say, etc.—but the Ops voice should be a strong one in this discussion.
The result should be an understanding of IT as a problem solver, a collaborative partner whose true goal is meeting business needs and goals, not just keeping a tight grip on infrastructure. SaaS, and other cloud-based offerings, can allow internal IT to concentrate its resources on core services and provide better overall results.

For more on making the most of SaaS opportunities, visit


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