Making the business case for a complete shift to SaaS can be a hard row to hoe. The objections you’ll encounter are predictable, and understandable: the endless plans of engagement, the double-entry of information, the knowledge shortfall, the licensing cost increases while you’re running two systems in parallel. The list goes on.
You might have an easier time convincing stakeholders if you’re dealing with the near-blank slate of a young start-up, whereas a complete shift to SaaS is a much taller order for an older business. Businesses that existed in a time when applications were designed without consideration of web access or user location will undoubtedly find it more difficult to transition away from legacy products. Users may be used to a way of working that hasn’t changed in a long time, and they don’t foresee or understand the benefit of change. Sometimes it almost seems easier to start a new company from scratch than to untangle the web of legacy systems and business processes of an established business, all the while protecting its rich IP built up over many years.
So why shift to SaaS at all? Let’s consider some common scenarios:
The version or product is unsupported by vendor or local support groups
Ongoing maintenance is becoming a financial burden
The application hasn't been modernised sufficiently to cater to your business’ more flexible access requirements
Application doesn't integrate easily into other services you use or want to use
Application doesn't fulfil your company’s security requirements
Application is incapable of being resilient by design, which causes management overhead and risk
New or currently utilised SaaS systems fulfil some or all the required features of the previous application.
The problems created by any of these situations are significant, and solving any one of them is a good reason to transition to a SaaS product. However, the larger benefits come from removing the dependencies of all your legacy applications. Making a total shift to SaaS is where the magic happens.
Here’s what you can expect when you completely kick the legacy application habit:
1. More space to innovate
Managing your maintenance schedule in-house is a considerable drain on time and resources. It rarely makes sense to DIY when you could be taking advantage of a deep pool of external resource. SaaS services manage all upgrades, patching and testing; this means that your IT team are freed up to focus on innovation and adding value to your business.
2. More manageable and transparent IT costs
Your IT costs will be more predictable regardless of changes in staff numbers over time. Even seasonal workers can be accounted for if the SaaS product charges on a per user monthly basis. Support by managed service providers can be transitioned to an end-user model where they are able to pass on the cost savings of the simplified environment to a predictable monthly cost based on the number of office staff.
3. A future-proofed business
Selecting a SaaS service doesn’t mean locking yourself into using that service forever. Once the initial work has been done to transition from a legacy system to SaaS, any future moves are likely to be vastly simpler – so if a new service becomes available that better suits your future business, you can move with far less difficulty than moving from a legacy system. Researching the portability of your data within a SaaS service is a worthwhile exercise.
4. Increased security
Security-as-a-Service for endpoint protection is available for antivirus, web filtering, content filtering and endpoint detection and response (EDR). These can provide up-to-the second protection for your device, instead of traditional periodic delta changes that need to be managed centrally through your IT services.
Real-time EDR is a next generation toolset that can detect, investigate and prevent malicious attacks and data breaches, of which endpoints are a preferred target. Combining EDR with endpoint protection provides an effective way to protect your systems.
5. Increased flexibility
SaaS better caters for the diverse usage or consumption patterns of users. If you have an internet connection and an endpoint device, you can create your own workflows with employee and client collaboration. With several SaaS offerings, a user can be offline and can still work locally on the endpoint device and then synchronise their data later. Your data is available to you on multiple devices across multiple interfaces and will allow you to implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy if you wish, without compromising productivity.
6. Reduced reliance on servers
An important benefit of completely removing your dependency on legacy applications is reduced reliance on your office or datacentre. Backup and restoration don’t require any additional on-premises systems or daily tasks for your staff. Office disaster recovery strategies could be as simple as telling people to work from home. You may not need to replace a server ever again if you’ve finally removed all your dependencies.
7. The last mile is the hardest
Often, we see businesses replace one or more of their legacy applications with SaaS alternatives, but stop short of a complete shift to SaaS because of a myriad of reasons. While this is understandable – the last mile is always the hardest – it’s a huge lost opportunity. Once you broaden your focus from solving your initial narrow problem, e.g. a lack of integration between one of your legacy applications and your other applications, to the full suite of benefits that a complete shift to SaaS brings over time, suddenly the short-term pain seems a very small price to pay for the massive gains on offer. With a carefully planned roadmap, the pain can be minimised, and you could start tapping into the transformative benefits of shifting to a SaaS model sooner than you think.
Get in touch today to see how Origin can help you shake off your dependency on legacy applications and experience the benefits of a complete shift to SaaS.