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How SaaS is Changing IT Departments

As software as a service (SaaS) tools continue to gain more popularity with businesses, it’s only natural that on-premises, perpetual license software will decline in usage. That’s already resulting in significant changes for information technology (IT) departments in many companies. For example, technology managers recognize that they will need staff with different skill sets, new infrastructure to support cloud-based technologies, and a complete overhaul of their processes to support their evolving mission. Here are the most significant ways that SaaS is transforming IT departments.


Traditionally, IT staff have been expected to possess highly technical skills because workers needed to be able to manage and configure on-premises software and servers. However, since cloud-based servers require less technical expertise, IT departments need fewer computer science graduates with programming and database management skills. Instead, technology workers need more proficient in business analytics and savvy decision-making skills. As more companies transition to SaaS, it becomes more about creating business processes based on what the technology can effectively support, as opposed to customization, because that’s how it’s always been done. Therefore, IT departments will likely hire an increasing number of business graduates – and fewer computer science grads – in the future.


While SaaS tools offer more flexible capabilities for your organization, they also present additional cybersecurity threats and challenges. For example, using cloud-based servers provides hackers and data thieves with another way to access your network. Furthermore, you have to consider how your SaaS vendors and technology partners are dealing with potential cyber threats. Even if your network is secure, malicious actors could exploit security holes in a vendor’s network. It only takes one slip up to create a huge data breach and headache for your business. That’s why you need to communicate with your technology partners on the issue of cybersecurity to ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect your company’s data.


IT capabilities used to focus on supporting all-in-one software solutions used by most organizations. However, the adoption of cloud-based technology solutions means that software products are becoming more specialized. For instance, each sub-specialty within your organization has a SaaS solution – which makes things much more fragmented than before. That means your IT department will have to be more adept at integrating and consolidating data across different sources. Furthermore, your technology department will have to identify the platforms and enterprise architecture needed for all of your SaaS solutions to co-exist together. Basically, IT capabilities are becoming more vertical because of the cloud.


Finally, another major challenge facing IT departments is that many staff take it upon themselves to sign up for SaaS services – especially low-cost ones – without consulting managers. That means your department can end up paying for duplicate services because multiple teams have signed up for them. For example, one social media team could be scheduling posts with Buffer while another team is scheduling posts with Hootsuite. Workgroups could also end up paying for multiple Slack accounts when they don’t need to. That means technology managers are often forced into playing the role of a referee when it comes to determining which solutions teams need to use, as well as what your organization is willing to pay for. One way to solve that problem is by making sure your IT department has a close relationship with all of the other departments within your business. That way, you will have a better chance of getting everyone on board with using a designated SaaS tool for a specific need.

In short, SaaS is creating an entire cultural and organizational shift in technology departments to support the inevitable changes brought about by it. However, all of these changes stem from the fact that IT has become a critical component of the business: one that touches each department. While SaaS allows organizations to become more efficient, leverage data better, and lower costs, its return on investment is dependent on whether IT departments can enthusiastically embrace the changes that are needed to support it.