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What Optional Services Should you Consider to Support your SaaS Applications? (Part 2)
Dick Csaplar, Aberdeen Group
OCT 25, 2013 05:00 AM
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In January 2013, Aberdeen surveyed 123 organizations to learn how they use the Public Cloud as part of their IT infrastructure. This blog will focus on the expanding use of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a platform for enterprise applications. SaaS is now widely deployed, is supporting business critical applications and many SaaS providers offer optional services to enhance the application and / or protect the data. This blog examines the adoption rates of the less widely adopted, optional services and discusses the advantages they provide to SaaS end-users. To read the full report click here “What Optional Services should you Consider to Support your SaaS Applications?” Click here to read the first blog covering the three most popular SaaS services.

Optional SaaS Services

Figure 2 reports which services are deployed by companies with active SaaS deployments as reported in the January survey.

SaaS Serv 2

The list breaks evenly into two groups, those used by more than half of SaaS users and those used by only a minority. The rest of this report will examine each service to identify who is using them and what benefits they receive.

Services All Organizations Should Strongly Consider

The second group of optional SaaS services are those deployed by only a minority of users. Figure 5 shows these services’ deployment rates based on company size.

SaaS Serv 4

Integration of SaaS Applications

One of the limits to SaaS adoption is that they are stovepipes in and of themselves. For greater functionality, companies need to integrate Cloud SaaS applications together or with applications deployed in-house. For example, it would be very productive if, when a sales rep in a CRM system marks an opportunity as won, the order administration application automatically gathers the required data, schedules the order for production and alerts the financial systems. This is only possible if the applications have been integrated.

There are two major types of integrations:

Integration of SaaS apps with in-house Applications – As shown in Figure 5, large enterprises are more likely to integrate SaaS applications with their own. 32% of all companies do this integration but 50% of large companies report this practice. Larger companies have many more applications and are far more likely to have the technical skills required to create the links. They also have higher numbers of people using these apps, so the integration work benefits more users.

Integration of SaaS with other SaaS Applications – Less common but used by companies of all sizes at about the same 20% rate is integration across SaaS applications. Many SaaS providers will perform this work as a custom project and allow their code to be accessed by qualified customers. This is not as widely deployed, but Aberdeen expects to see this service adoption rise as more and more critical apps are used as SaaS.

Companies interested in integrating their SaaS applications should check with their SaaS provider to see if they offer integration services. If not, several companies exist that provide this service for a fee.

Data Archiving

Cloud storage is the second most widely adopted Public Cloud service after SaaS. For companies with an active Cloud program, over half of participants, 52%, store data in the Public Cloud. A sizable minority of SaaS users are archiving their data in the Public Cloud. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of survey respondents reported having an active SaaS data archiving program.

Cloud archive is a service optimized for long-term data storage that provides the required security and is compliant with legal and industry archiving regulations.This service is more widely adopted by small and mid-sized companies, as companies of this size tend to exist only in a single location and use the Public Cloud as a remote site for protecting files from datacenter-class disasters. Small companies are 25% more likely as large companies to archive their SaaS data in
the Cloud.


Given current national and state compliance legislation and legal discovery requirements, corporate IT departments need to carefully manage their historical data so that specific messages or content can be located quickly. Electronic discovery (eDiscovery), if done manually, can be painfully slow and unreliable. SaaS providers that offer eDicovery services can quickly find documents containing pertinent files or data, provide audit trails to show who and how often the data has changed and even lock down data until the court has released the legal hold.

Companies that find themselves the target of multiple legal suits should strongly consider using eDiscovery services. While not widely deployed today, large enterprises are about 25% more likely to use eDiscovery services, primarily as they are far more likely to be the targets of legal challenges.

Summary: Which Services Should You Deploy?

SaaS deployments of business applications are the most popular form of the Public Cloud and offerings run the entire length and width of business management. With 32% of survey respondents using four or more SaaS applications, the need to optimize application performance and protect the data is large.

Most software providers now offer a SaaS form of application license. Many also offer optional services that users should strongly consider. If companies, particularly large enterprises, are able to protect, backup, remotely store and archive this data, then purchasing optional services from the SaaS provider is not required. However, companies not willing or able to perform these tasks themselves should strongly consider purchasing these optional services, as SaaS applications are now an integral part of the corporate IT infrastructure.

Just because the application is outside the firewall doesn’t mean the data isn’t important.

Dick Csaplar

Senior Research Analyst, Virtualization and the Cloud

IT Infrastructure Group

Aberdeen Group

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