SaaS has long been known as the acronym for “Software as a Service”—a software licensing and delivery model that refers to centrally hosted software licensed on a subscription basis. But I’d like to suggest another, more modern name for the same acronym: “Software as a Strategy.”
A philosophy rather than a delivery method, this concept has become increasingly popular among CIOs and IT executives who aim to make software providers an integral part of their larger corporate strategies.
According to Gartner’s newest CIO Agenda report, “Top performers are far more focused on supporting business initiatives, as opposed to simply optimizing IT costs. They are prioritizing business value while also contributing to overall corporate cost-reduction activities—in other words, behaving like high-level business executives.”
During this era of rapid digital transformation, the role of CIO at large enterprises is evolving at an equally swift pace. A growing number of companies expect this office and team to deliver technology that not only accomplishes its intended job, but also supports other departments and contributes to larger enterprise objectives.
The CIO from IDG reports, “More CIOs categorize themselves as transformational or strategic this year: 50 percent of the respondents said they view themselves as transformational, up from 45 percent last year, and 31 percent identified their roles as strategic, compared to 27 percent last year.”
The IT executive of the past was renowned for being risk averse. While today’s CIO must still aim to minimize risk, the role must move more decisively and strategically, striving to achieve interconnected enterprise goals and adopt new technologies in smart ways.
One way to limit such risk is to consider a pilot or “POC” of the software. Modern CIOs highly value these free vendor-managed pilots as a way to ensure IT validation, test user acceptance, and garner data analytics/BI in order to support—or discourage—the transition to new software. Such data should not only support the usability of the software, but also demonstrate how it can help fulfill cross-functional goals and long-term objectives. For example, does the software accelerate a process while reducing costs? Does it empower employees to do their jobs more quickly and easily while enhancing security? Does it improve office-wide productivity, which then boosts the company’s bottom line?
Here at Nitro, I have these strategic conversations every day with CIOs and IT executives from some of the largest companies on the planet. Productivity, sustainability, security and cost reduction are all on the minds of senior IT leaders across the country. Are they on yours?