The role of chief information officers is changing rapidly over time. Perhaps in a previous era, when computers were still novel to many workers, the position was different. Many employees had no idea what they were doing at their desktop PCs, and IT help desks were vital in order to provide support for a workforce in over its head. Back then, a CIO may have been seen as a glorified janitor – someone there to clean up the mess when things went wrong.
It’s not surprising, then, that the job has changed. People now are more tech-savvy than ever. Using a computer is second-nature, and mobile devices are ubiquitous as well. The typical worker no longer needs help with the basics, so CIOs can instead turn their attention to more ambitious projects.
Often, this means being proactive and helping their companies upgrade their tech infrastructures. For example, this could mean doing away with outdated mainframe solutions and introducing more software as a service (SaaS) solutions.
According to John Moore at CIO.com, that’s exactly what’s currently happening in the IT world – businesses are deciding that they no longer need the traditional software packages they’ve used for years, and they’re outsourcing functions such as human resources to companies that offer affordable SaaS solutions.
For CIOs, who work doggedly every day on managing technology for their businesses, SaaS is a breath of fresh air. It takes some of the headaches associated with managing company data and transfers them to qualified professionals ready to handle them.
The news source profiled Kent Stelmasczuk, chief financial officer of Rico Manufacturing, who recently deployed a large-scale SaaS solution for managing all the salaries and benefits of his company’s employees. He noted that managing corporate data is now easier than ever, since all the software minutiae are handled remotely by the SaaS provider.
“We don’t have to do the application of the updates and patches,” Stelmasczuk told CIO. “It is all happening behind the scenes. Anything we save on hardware is all upside.”
Making the transition is easy
For CIOs, it’s a big decision to make the move from traditional software to SaaS. Luckily, the move is becoming easier every day. It’s now common for SaaS vendors to offer benefits to companies who switch over. For example, a provider might offer hands-on assistance with transitioning away from legacy applications, or a few months of free customer service with the new SaaS package.
The other factor simplifying the SaaS transition is that if they’re not ready for large-scale moves, companies can easily dabble in a service rather than dive in entirely. It’s now common for a company to use one SaaS solution for HR, another for customer service and a third for e-commerce. This is becoming the norm – because SaaS systems are scalable to meet a business’ specific needs, companies can purchase the exact level of service they need from each provider in each department.
Reuven Cohen of Forbes recently reported that among companies that have made the leap to cloud based infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions, 74 percent are using more than one type of cloud, be they public, private, in-house or off-premise. In addition, between 40 and 50 percent of these companies are using more than one service within the same type of cloud.
The beauty of SaaS systems today is that they’re perfectly customizable. Perhaps in a previous era, CIOs were forced to overspend, purchasing too many servers or too many licenses for a certain software package. In the post-software world, though, that’s no longer an issue. Companies now have the power to spend exactly the money they want on exactly the services they need. The management of business technology has never been more efficient.