Is it time to get SaaSy and Smart with your IT Management solution?
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has become the solution for many areas of today’s businesses – CRM, HRM, ERP, Email, accounting, collaboration, field services, project management, office applications, recruiting, travel, etc., etc. Examples include Salesforce, NetSuite, BaseCamp, Office 365, Google Docs, QuickBooks, GoToMeeting, Concur, Taleo, Constant Contact; the list goes on. Arguably, most of these SaaS solutions are delivering the features, security, availability, and performance demanded by business managers. SaaS has become a way of improving services, freeing up resources, and reducing overall costs.
So can SaaS for IT Management do this same thing for IT managers?
IT management is becoming increasingly challenging. Mobility, BYOD, virtualization, Cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc. are all driving up IT complexity and making it difficult to keep management control. The technology is changing so fast it is impossible to keep up. Dr. James Canton, World Leading Authority on the Extreme Future, said, “Technology is changing at warp speed. If you were to disappear and come back after 90 days, the Net would have doubled, bandwidth would have increased by a third, and there would be a half a dozen innovations you would have missed.” If you are an IT Manager, you are afraid to take a vacation!
The right SaaS IT management solution may be just what is needed to help IT managers regain control of their ever-changing and complex world. With the right capabilities, SaaS IT management can allow the focus to be on keeping critical IT services working well for customers and users, rather than buying another tool, integrating another module, and updated another management software release.
Of course, for the hardcore IT manager, accessing his or her IT management solution from the cloud could be a bit scary. However, with the proper investigation and careful selection, SaaS is the IT Management answer for more and more IT organizations. But choosing the right solution can be difficult. So as you think about SaaS as a possibility, here are eight things to consider:
- SaaS Management Features: First and foremost, the SaaS solution must deliver the IT management features you need. It should be able to manage your entire IT environment – on-premise, cloud, and mobile – integrated into a single command center. It must allow you to manage every asset regardless of where it is: in the office, at home, or on-the-road. And you must be able to accomplish management actions with policy-based automation. Automation is the key to efficiency, and doing more with your current staff.
- Cloud Architecture: Look for a SaaS solution that is secure, reliable, and highly available. In particular, it must include secure, reliable access from the SaaS IT Management software to all of your IT assets, especially to the devices of your home office and mobile workforce. Technologies, such as FIPS certified 256-bit AES encryption, as part of smart agent technology, can allow easy anytime, anywhere, secure access.
- Breadth of Coverage: The SaaS IT management capabilities must be both wide and deep. Wide, meaning it addresses the full spectrum of management needs, such as monitoring, remote control, asset management, software deployment, patch management, anti-virus, backup, and security. And deep, meaning delivering these capabilities with a strong set of features — as in policy-based, automated deployment, configuration, execution, update, log, reporting, monitoring and remediation.
- Well Integrated: Too often, SaaS IT management offerings are limited to one or two functions. They provide remote control, or anti-virus, or patch, but do not integrate them all together. Insist on an integrated answer. Avoid choosing a SaaS solution that still requires inefficient, ineffective, “swivel-chair” or “Ctrl Alt” management.
- Manages Diverse Platforms: The platforms and devices you need to manage continue to proliferate. Windows and Linux, PCs and Mac, Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry mobile devices, networks, storage, servers, applications, physical and virtual – all need to be covered by the SaaS solution. With many companies moving to BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) and the IoT (Internet of Things), the challenge will only become greater. The SaaS vendor must be able to address these diverse platforms today, and have an architectural approach and a vision to cover your future needs.
- Fast Time-to-Value: One of the key reasons to move to a SaaS IT Management solution is agility, the ability to respond to demands, and move quickly. This can only be achieved if the SaaS vendor has the deep discovery, policy-based automation, and templates to help you begin managing new infrastructure and assets quickly and easily. Ease of implementation is key here.
- Simple Pricing: Avoid complex pricing models, based on a confusing selection of management modules, devices priced by size, number of CPUs, admin and user seats, etc. It will be difficult to keep track, and over time, your costs will grow beyond where you intended. Look for complete management packages, with simple pay-as-you-go, device-based pricing modules.
- SaaS Philosophy: Choose a SaaS IT management provider who is committed to SaaS, and has the financial strength to stay the course. A vendor with a focus on SaaS is more likely to have the architectural design, multi-tenancy, scale, security, and reliability features to ensure a positive experience today and tomorrow.
These eight areas provide an overview of the top considerations for SaaS IT Management. Over the coming weeks, I will explore each of these areas in a bit more depth.