A recent report commissioned by the Society for Information Management (SIM) examined how SaaS systems currently on the market can be integrated with existing legacy systems, as well as the potential problems that a company may encounter when trying to meld the old and the new.
The report, entitled “SaaS, IaaS and PaaS: Realities and Emerging Integration Issues,” touched on a wide variety of topics, among them the need to weight the potential benefits of SaaS against possible conflicts and risks that may come with the service.
Proponents of Software as a Service maintain that it has a number of large advantages over legacy systems, including a low initial cost for functionality, vendor responsibility for all upgrades and maintenance, and a predictable payment schedule based on usage. This, coupled with an agile environment and a reduced need for in-house IT staff, is what supporters of SaaS say sets it apart from legacy systems and gives it the edge companies need.
From a user perspective, often the biggest issue that is mentioned is security. Many companies are concerned that integration with a SaaS platform will leave their data vulnerable, but in many cases this has been found to be somewhat of a falsehood. Often, data stored on a physical server is just as vulnerable as that shared in a SaaS environment, and a physical server may have greater difficulty recovering from a hack or hardware failure.
When it comes to integration, companies may choose from several options including single sign on (SSO), an integration platform or a full-on PaaS choice. No matter the type of integration chosen, the key for any company looking to make the most of a SaaS move it to have a plan in place and know what legacy functions must remain intact.