Even as CIOs face smaller IT budgets in a range of areas this year, one segment that still has traction is Software as a Service (SaaS). The subscription-based software delivery model provides an alternative to bulky, on-premise applications and is thriving in shops where CIOs need to deliver functionality quickly without a lot of up-front investment.
But buyer beware: The gold on the road to SaaS is often buried in the contract you negotiate, and some CIOs are left wishing they had done something differently soon after the ink has dried.
In a recent SearchCIO-Midmarket.com article, CIOs shared tips and advice for avoiding potential pitfalls in SaaS contracts, from contract duration to licensing fees and more. One CIO faced a requirement to buy a minimum number of licenses, which had to be maintained for the life of the contract. Adam Sokolic, vice president of product management at National Retirement Partners Inc. in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., lost 15 people in a layoff and was stuck paying for the licenses even though he didn’t need them anymore.
Such issues don’t seem to be crimping the popularity of some SaaS solutions, though. Research firm IDC has increased its SaaS growth projection for 2009 from 36% growth to 40.5% growth over 2008.
Service-now.com recently announced record growth of almost $20 million in recurring revenue by the end of 2008, bringing fiscal year revenue growth to 389% of 2007. Salesforce.com saw a 34% jump in quarterly revenue by the end of January, reaching a record quarterly revenue of $290 million. Subscription and support revenues were $266 million, an increase of 35% over last year, and professional services and other revenues were $23.5 million, an increase of 15% over 2007. In fact, as these results show, CRM and IT Service Management software seem to be among the more popular application categories for SaaS.
So while lobbying for desirable SaaS contract terms may require a practiced and skilled negotiator, the market growth shows that SaaS continues to gather steam in today’s corporate IT. And that can benefit everyone.