It’s finally here. The Forrester Market Overview: SaaS IT Service Management Tools covers: a little ITSM tool history and how we have moved on, the benefits and risks of the SaaS delivery model, key selection criteria for selecting a SaaS (or on-premises) tool, and overviews of 23 tools (from 21 vendors) and their functional capabilities across the enterprise and midmarket marketplaces.
“Why on earth did you write a SaaS-only ITSM report?” I hear some cry
It’s simple – Forrester client demand. In 2012, a good 25% of my 400ish a year client inquiries related to IT service management (ITSM) tool selection; and the SaaS-delivery model (and the key vendors) was covered in nigh on all of them. That’s not to say the client ultimately went SaaS though, inquiries are very much about rapid information exchange in helping clients make important decisions. It’s not about making the decision for the client.
What the SaaS ITSM market looks like
The following figure shows the 23 vendor tools split by average customer subscription (seat) count (described as Enterprise, Upper Midmarket, and Lower Midmarket) and their degree of customer success (the number of paying customers):
There are of course other ITSM tool vendors who declined to participate for a variety of reasons. One would be that they were not briefing Forrester analysts and thus not on our radar.
We all know the conventional wisdom about cloud computing: it's cheap, fast and easy. But is it really that much cheaper? Or is it simply optics that make it appear cheaper?
Optics can absolutely change your perception of the cost of something. Just think about your morning jolt of coffee. $3.50 for a no-foam, half-caf, sugar-free vanilla latte doesn't seem that expensive. It's a small daily expense when viewed by the drink. It appears even cheaper if you pay for it with a loyalty card where you don't even have to fork over the dough and the vanilla shot is free. But what if you bought coffee like IT buys technology? You would pay for it on an annual basis. That $3.50 latte would now be about $900/year. For coffee? How many of you would go for that deal? That's optics and it plays right into the marketing hands of the public cloud services your business is consuming today.
But optics aside, is that $99/month per user SaaS application just another $20,000 per year enterprise application? Is that $0.25 per hour virtual machine just another $85 per year hosted VM? No, it's not the same. Because the pricing models are not just optics but an indication of the buying pattern that is possible. If you buy it the same way you do traditional IT, then yes, the math says, there's little difference here. The key to cloud economics is to not buy the cloud service the same way you do traditional IT. The key to taking advantage is to not statically and rotely consume the cloud. Instead, consume only what you need when you need it — and be diligent about turning off when you aren't.