IT managers not ready to take SaaS plunge

SaaS is still seen in Australia as more of an option for small to medium sized businesses

While Software as a Service (SaaS) is heating up in Australia with more offerings coming to market, local IT managers are still reticent about taking the plunge. has seen massive growth in recent years for hosted software and only this week Webcentral launched an online sales hub for SaaS applications.

But SaaS is still seen as more of an option for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs).

Johnstone Shire Council IT manager James Scullen said that as a local government authority, the organization uses a lot of customised and specialist programs and wouldn't benefit from the SaaS model.

"I think it would be beneficial for those able to use it, but given our structure we haven't considered it," he said.

Morrison Motors CIO Kuma Ekanayake believes SaaS is a good idea for companies who have structural and employee fluctuations.

"Companies like these, who may use applications which have varying content like tax and payroll software, would benefit from not having to pay for extended licences and implementation," Ekanayake said.

"Companies would most likely use it seasonally, such as over Christmas or tax time where staff levels and requirements change.

"However, I think using programs for such small amounts of time may complicate the situation and be too risky; if a company needed software over a four month period, it could easily take that long for managers to familarise themselves with it. This creates obvious risks due to inexperience. Why not outsource instead?"

The new WebCentral Application Marketplace provides 'on demand' business applications ranging from CRM to accounting and tax services.

WebCentral CEO Andrew Spicer said that as part of the launch, the company is creating an online forum where local application developers can promote their products.There is currently 25 local application providers as members.

One of the most popular applications on the Application Marketplace to date, he said, has been We Call You Now, a 'click to call' online sales tool that allows Web site visitors to receive an instant phone call.

WebCentral is continuing to actively seek further SaaS providers as members.

- with Sandra Rossi

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