Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Bringing SaaS Innovation to the Enterprise

I was pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It occurred November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the 2012 session: Bringing SaaS Innovation to the Enterprise, led by Elias Dayeh, Director, Business Operations, Axcient, Inc. and Jeff Teddleton, VP of Operations, Axcient, Inc. Here is the session description.

“As we move from Software economy to the App and API economy, IT needs to adapt the way it works. CIO’s must move from being Chief Infrastructure Officers to “Innovation and Intelligence”. Adopt new technologies, don’t fight them, you can embrace the ever-changing technology landscape to provide business value. Walk through how we moved to SaaS applications, removed capital spend, improved collaboration and refocused the IT team on providing business value.”

Jeff began by saying he is responsible for operations at Axcient and covered how they use SaaS both inside and outside with customers. Axcient provides a hybrid cloud platform for disaster recovery and other use cases.  They are both a SaaS vendor and a SaaS customer.  There are four main issues for SaaS: scalability, flexibility, maintenance, and innovation.  They need to be able to replace their architecture as new issues arise.

Elias took over. He is responsible for internal business operations so he spoke as a Saas customer. He needs a system that can scale to their growth. SaaS allows for this. His requirements are always changing and he gets this flexibility from SaaS. He also does not want to have a big deal with maintenance every time they scale up.

He covered some of the SaaS myths. SaaS does not lock you into a solution. However, it is not the case that there is no money up front but it is less money than in the past. SaaS is also enterprise ready. It is secure. SaaS and the cloud is not the same.

He showed their stack, both current and planned. Salesforce is the centerpiece of their architecture and there are multiple tools surrounding it. They use JIRA for issue tracking. Their tools are built around the Salesforce ecosystem.

He covered his build versus buy decision matrix. Factors include: price, feature set, security, implementation, confidence, company visibility, overall UI, cost savings and you can weight them.  The weights will vary with each application.

Next he offered what works: a defined pan, defined architecture, integrations, development road map, Total Cost of Ownership, context, context, context.  Integrations are a huge factor. He needs to integrate all the apps from each business unit.

He then covered things to avoid. Do not move everything to the cloud at once. Do not take short cuts. Do not use apps and platforms that do not integrate easily. Just because apps are SaaS does not mean they are easy to integrate.

His lessons learned are: do your home work, hammer your vendors to get down to issues in his decision matrix. Not everything has to be SaaS. Work with one vendor at a time. Understand the full relationship life cycle. Have an exit strategy to get the data out. He exports his data outside of Salesforce once a week even though they are happy with it. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

His integration strategy centers on Salesforce since it is the core platform. He asks about this with all new vendors.  He looks at rather it has to touch Salesforce or can data go through another system to get to it.


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