The Return of SaaS

Last year, we saw the private-cloud wave coming before it hit the mainstream. This year — in line with what may be the meta-trend of better-established technologies getting more attention in 2011 — we see a return to the speed, familiarity and cost savings of software as a service. The fact is that two years ago, SaaS had reached a kind of assessment point, as concerns about service levels, security and especially availability mounted.

SaaS has weathered this gale well, has matured and is now ready for more widespread adoption than any of the other cloud options currently bandied about. We believe in strong futures for both private and public cloud computing, and even for platform as a service (PaaS). However, in this story, we?re in the business of predicting next year?s trends, not those farther out.

For New York City government agencies, expanding into the cloud for software as a service will provide greater access to collaborative solutions for multiple departments, while saving significant costs. The city is finalizing a deal with Microsoft that will unify dozens of software agreements within one cloud-based solution structure, and expand the current supply of tools for e-mail, message, collaboration and live-meeting needs.

More than 100,000 employees in about 100 agencies will be affected, and at least $50 million is expected to be saved during the next five years. Also, employees who currently don?t have access to these tools, such as mobile social-services employees, will be able to access them via the cloud.

?This will allow us to move more quickly while reducing overall costs,? says Mike Bimonte, deputy commissioner for IT services for the city of New York. ?This is especially true in this economy, which has forced us to analyze our licensing and software spend and quickly identify lower-cost solutions that are more efficient.?

Added Paul O?Brien, executive director of IT systems: ?With this agreement, we?ll also have greater opportunity to try out different software solutions offered within the cloud to see what works best for our employees.?