Does Company Size Matter? Sizing up SaaS for your IT Help Desk SOLUTION WHITE PAPER

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1 Does Company Size Matter? Sizing up SaaS for your IT Help Desk SOLUTION WHITE PAPER

2 Table of Contents Organization Size and Sizing up SaaS for the IT Help Desk What SaaS can bring to the IT help desk debunking the size myth if not size, then what to consider instead? Data security 3 Flexibility 4 Sizing up SaaS Conclusion

3 Organization Size and Sizing up SaaS for the IT Help Desk Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is no longer the new kid on the block. Once perceived as a lofty trend with an uncertain future, it is now recognized as a viable and attractive delivery vehicle for organizations of all sizes. This is especially true for companies evaluating whether to replace aging IT service management systems or consolidate multiple help desk solutions. When considering the benefits of a SaaS-based help desk lower upfront investment, reduced staffing requirements and decreased maintenance expenses organizations often reflect on their company s size to determine whether a SaaS or on-premise solution is right for them. Some may speculate, We re too big for SaaS, while others may think, A SaaS solution is much more than our modest organization needs. The question is: How accurate of a yardstick is company size? This paper not only debunks the myth that company size should be a primary factor in evaluating SaaS success, but also introduces more accurate litmus tests you can use when making the on-demand versus on-premise decision for your enterprise. What SaaS can bring to the IT help desk Before challenging some of the prevalent SaaS myths, it is useful to consider the benefits SaaS can bring to IT service management. The IT help desk is an ideal candidate for SaaS for several reasons. The help desk occupies critical real estate in the enterprise it s where IT meets the business. A server problem or a lost password can knock a financial trader or customer offline, resulting in lost business; a rapid and effective resolution becomes a business imperative, not just a personal convenience. Ease of access to help desk services and timely collaboration are important for success. SaaS gives organizations the ability to offer end users online access to IT support without the need for anything more than Internet access which also means mobile access is supported without requiring any special infrastructure. By definition, the IT help desk charter is constantly changing as it adapts to new users, new business applications and systems, and new work patterns (such as mobile computing). The SaaS delivery model ensures instant and seamless access to new innovations within applications without the need for long or complex upgrade processes. The more readily you can leverage enhancements and additions to your service management application, the more efficient you can make the entire IT support experience for everyone involved. The most effective IT help desk services are largely invisible. Ideally, IT is able to automatically resolve most problems before people notice an impact. An effective help desk capability also empowers employees to reset their passwords, gain access to new services, and solve their own problems with self-service. Thanks to the ubiquity and ease of access to SaaS applications, the provisioning of self-service is straightforward and the uptake of self-service is correspondingly widespread and rapid. If SaaS is a good fit for your organization s help desk, the benefits are numerous: Ease of Use and Access: Browser-based interfaces provide fast, familiar access to data and capabilities. There s minimal need for training, and help desk staff can easily customize their personal dashboards to make themselves even more productive. Your staff can access their dashboards anytime, anywhere, from any Web browser or mobile device and your customers can, too. With a good SaaS application, you can also be up and running in minutes. 1

4 Pay-as-You-Grow Model: With SaaS, businesses rent the software applications, paying a monthly fee for each user. This means that you pay only for what you use, and you can scale up or down based on what s going on in your business. For example, a retailer can temporarily add IT help desk staff during the holiday season, or a financial services company can add staff during tax season. There s no costly overhead such as, software licenses, servers, maintenance, power, and cooling sitting in the background, eating up your budget. Just pure application capability, available whenever and wherever you need it. Out-of-the-Box Best Practices: Best-in-class SaaS applications for the IT help desk include preconfigured, ITIL-based processes for incident management, self-service, and inventory management. SaaS vendors have an edge: They can draw on the real-time collective experience of many IT professionals (their customer base) to stay current with the latest practices something you could never do cost-effectively yourself. And SaaS vendors can deploy these practices to everyone as soon as the practices are available something not possible with traditional software. Standardization: SaaS applications can help you deploy and enforce standardized processes more easily. Ease and ubiquity of online access, coupled with a propensity to configure workflows rather than customize them, enable true SaaS applications to be an important tool in unlocking and sustaining the power of best practice. Availability/Uptime: To remain competitive, SaaS vendors must provide high service levels. Some SaaS vendors, such as Salesforce.com, have such confidence in their infrastructure and application performance that they publish in real time the current status of the platform. Self-Service: A good SaaS application will let you easily create and publish self-service portals for your customers so they can reset their passwords, troubleshoot simple problems, and provision new services without assistance from a help desk technician. This kind of self-service can eliminate nearly half of your most repetitive incidents. You can also easily customize these portals for your best customers or for specific sets of customers in a particular industry. Automatic Upgrades: SaaS vendors can push new capabilities out to their customers via the cloud as soon as they are available deploying a new update every day, if they want. For businesses, this means no more cumbersome software upgrades that can take the help desk offline. Updates happen automatically, in the background. Advanced multitenancy technology and other upgrade technologies ensure that everyone on your team is updated on the same schedule. Privacy and Security: Established SaaS vendors serve thousands of customers from huge, secure data centers. Advanced privacy and security technologies, along with multitenancy technology, enable SaaS vendors to serve many customers while keeping their data separate and their access private. This is critical in an IT service management setting where highly sensitive data is stored, including details surrounding significant systems changes and failures. Managed services where one organization, such as a service bureau, processes data and transactions for another organization have been around since the 1980s. Data formats and privacy/security practices emerged from these services. Today, these concepts and practices are now moving to the cloud, where they continue to evolve alongside new advancements. Scalability: Want to add new features or upgrade data capacity? One of the big advantages of a best-in-class SaaS application is the ability to easily and cost-effectively do both, making it highly unlikely that you will ever outgrow your SaaS solution. Gateway to the Cloud: When your IT help desk resides in the cloud, you can easily integrate it with other capabilities such as the latest productivity-enhancing technologies available from your SaaS vendor because the technologies all use a common infrastructure. For example, you can integrate your help desk with your company s CRM application through preconfigured connections provided by the vendor. You can try new mobility applications that deliver help desk functions on mobile devices. You can also let IT staff and business people collaborate and share information securely within the enterprise using social applications, like Chatter. 2

5 Debunking the size myth Today, SaaS is often pitched as an on-demand solution ideal for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The notion is that these organizations have limited budgets for capital and operational expenses, and they lack the time and skilled staff necessary to manage and upgrade help desk applications. In reality, these constraints apply to organizations of all sizes including some of the world s largest. Case in point: Salesforce.com, the enterprise cloud company. The company has more than 92,000 enterprise customers and two million individual subscribers using its services for a variety of business-critical, hosted applications from sales and service (CRM) applications to IT infrastructure and database When size does matter management software. It is worth noting that SaaS help desk solutions are relatively new, as are their customers range from SMBs to Fortune 1000 many of the leading SaaS solution providers. When companies and multinationals. evaluating the various solutions on the market today, Allied Wireless Communications Corporation it is equally important to do your homework on the (AWCC) is another example. The company provides provider. This is one case where size does matter. Alltel wireless services to more than 800,000 Larger, established service providers generally have: customers in six states. They use a cloud-based More resources to drive innovation a benefit that service desk solution that provides a consolidated is automatically shared with your organization service desk with self-service and inventory More resources to build, maintain, and certify highintegrity and high-availability hosting infrastructures management capabilities. The company chose the cloud path because of its strategic, subscriptionbased pricing and the speed of implementation. A rapid and well rehearsed on-boarding process that s been shaped by thousands of successful deployments If not size, then what to consider instead? partner with you for the long term Stability and staying power, which ensure they will When it comes to evaluating whether SaaS is Depth of experience and extensive domain expertise the right fit for your organization, it is critical More expert support staff and a sizeable knowledge to consider the key business drivers that have base that s shared and developed by a large user motivated you to look at SaaS in the first place. base Then, frame that against the benefits of an onpremise solution. Ask yourself: What is the core purpose of the system? Which approach will best support your business model? What trade-offs might you need to make? Is there adequate extensibility to accommodate existing investments? What are your data security concerns? Data security For most organizations evaluating an off-premise solution, data security is a primary concern. Certification levels vary among SaaS vendors, yet most mature providers offer solutions that are likely more secure than most on-premise solutions. How do you know? Consider the following requirements: Customer data should be secured in a data center that is certified under SAS 70 Type II to meet the ISO standards for physical security, control of restricted areas, human resources management, data security, confidentiality, and other critical measures. Data should be kept on a separate physical or virtual server that is protected by intrusion detection and prevention systems, as well as have passwords and encryption using IP SEC or a minimum of AES 256-bit encryption. The provider should offer backups, disaster recovery, and business service continuity plans to assure system availability. 3

6 Flexibility A flexible service model is equally important. You should consider the kind of flexibility you have to move among different service delivery models everything from on-premise to off-premise solutions, from perpetual to term licenses, from onsite to outsourced staffing. Look for offerings that allow you to do this with a single tool. Over a three- to five-year period, you may want to move from one model to another without starting over every time and losing your entire investment. Sizing up SaaS So, how do you know if SaaS is the best model for your help desk? Consider whether your organization would benefit from: Easy access to continuous innovation Sustained ROI from continuous innovation Rapid rollout processes that require little to no effort for staff Seamless upgrades Access to leading ITIL best-practice tools The highest levels of security and availability Having more time to devote to the needs of the business With such compelling benefits, it is inconceivable that any organization would find SaaS anything but a wise investment. Yet, there are other factors to consider. What would make SaaS less desirable? It comes down to the complexity of your system integrations. Some IT help desks may use a simple, homegrown solution that can be managed with a single administrator. Conversely, other IT help desks may have complex or highly customized processes that they have built and maintained for years. In both cases, the cost and risk of migrating to a SaaS model may outweigh the savings and benefits. Of course, this depends on the SaaS provider under consideration: The provider s migration process and cost may yield a favorable ROI. Conclusion SaaS has proven itself as a compelling delivery vehicle for organizations of all sizes. Whether it is right for your business depends on how it aligns with your business strategy and overall IT strategy. Clearly, the size of your organization is not the best measurement tool for evaluating SaaS success. Instead, its fit is better judged by framing the benefits against your other alternatives. If your business would benefit from continuous innovation, rapid and effortless rollout processes, seamless upgrades, and industry-leading ITIL tools and security, SaaS may be just what your help desk needs. To learn more about BMC Software s SaaS-based ITSM Solutions, visit 4

7 Business runs on IT. IT runs on BMC Software. Business thrives when IT runs smarter, faster and stronger. That s why the most demanding IT organizations in the world rely on BMC Software across distributed, mainframe, virtual and cloud environments. Recognized as the leader in Business Service Management, BMC offers a comprehensive approach and unified platform that helps IT organizations cut cost, reduce risk and drive business profit. For the four fiscal quarters ended June 30, 2011, BMC revenue was approximately $2.1 billion. *216311* BMC, BMC Software, and the BMC Software logo are the exclusive properties of BMC Software, Inc., are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and may be registered or pending registration in other countries. All other BMC trademarks, service marks, and logos may be registered or pending registration in the U.S. or in other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners BMC Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

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