Recently, Adrian Steel, who is the head of infrastructure and management at the Royal Mail, moved all of the company’s IT into the cloud. This meant changing from desktops to things like Microsoft’s BPOS and Office365, and while some of the cost savings have appeared as advertised, Steel would “love to be able to access [services] on consumption basis, pay a small premium for short-term access and [have it added] to my bill.”
The problem, as Steel sees it, is that while SaaS options are becoming more popular in an effort to move companies away from a simple VPS or hosted virtual machine with Hyper-V, these options are very generic – they are by no means one-size-fits-all. This in turn means that if a company doesn’t need some of the features included in an SaaS offering, they cannot remove them to save money. Similarly, if there are extra levels of functionality that are required, purchasing them may not be an option.
Currently, Steel pays around 40 pounds a year for Microsoft’s BPOS, but argues that it would be better to see it as an “only when needed” option, one that would allow consumers to pay for it when they required its services, and pay nothing otherwise. He goes on to argue that in many respects, Microsoft is already moving in this direction, as Office365 asks consumers every month if the have paid their subscription fee. If they have not, all data becomes read-only until another payment is made.
Steel predicts that companies like Microsoft will focus more of their resources on core pieces of their applications, with “premium” parts of these programs available at a cost when users need them – something that will help broaden the appeal of SaaS.