As organizations expand their global footprint, the benefits of all SaaS-based applications increase. In addition to moving the technology commitment from a capital to an operational expense, delivery of enterprise applications via the internet enables all users to access the same instance of the application from anywhere they have an internet connection anytime – regardless of what country they reside. Industry analyst and Forrester CEO George Colony has stated that we are entering ‘the age of the app internet’. Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, whose company has helped define the SaaS application delivery model, calls the next phase of technology growth the fourth major innovation in modern technology – after mainframe computing, distributed computing, and the global internet.
The dispersed organization is the future – whether companies operate across multiple shores or various office locations in a particular country. For many, this means IT financial information is stored in disparate systems, business units, or geographies, making it challenging for CIOs and their teams to get a complete, accurate, and timely handle on total enterprise-wide technology costs and usage patterns. Existing corporate finance systems of record cannot come close to providing the level of cost accounting needed to accommodate total technology expenses.
A SaaS-based approach to IT financial management delivers all the benefits associated with SaaS solutions – lower total cost of ownership, no need to invest in additional hardware, vendor-managed maintenance, etc. – but it also opens the door to better business performance by increasing transparency of the total corporate technology expense information or total economic impact to the business.
A SaaS-based IT financial management solution aids organizations with laser-focus on aggregating disparate utilization and cost data from around the globe and can provide an accurate ‘centralized’ view of technology expenses and utilization from all points of corporate operations. This ensures that every business manager has the information needed to understand, analyze and manage IT costs and ensures that technology investments are completely aligned with business strategy. This is the goal for maturing the IT Finance process in organizations. A SaaS-based IT Finance Management solution dramatically shortens the time corporations of all sizes need to gain full maturity for their IT Financial processes.
An on-premise IT financial management solution does provide the benefit of automation, but it doesn’t deliver the added value of better business intelligence delivered dynamically anywhere/anytime. A key challenge for most global organizations is consolidating data from various systems in dispersed locations.
The right SaaS-based IT financial management solution is able to deliver “one version of the truth” by aggregating corporate data behind the client’s firewall, dynamically connecting to disparate sources, whether that’s a mainframe, virtual server environment, a ‘cloud’ third party provider, or a wireless provider who sends an electronic statement of the wireless usage. This eliminates the pitfalls associated with inaccurate or missing data and reduces reliance on manually aggregated static summary data. It also provides more viable business intelligence because it’s not requiring users to make (many times very costly) assumptions based on summary data. Instead, it goes right to the source to get information and presents the accurate technology consumption and cost data needed to make informed business decisions.
SaaS-based IT financial management solutions give corporate IT and business managers a much more complete understanding of the cost of technology and how IT costs are allocated. This information enables the entire corporate management team drive more responsible consumption and make better decisions that support business priorities across the global organization. By having complete insight into total cost of ownership (TCO) of any and all the products and services IT provides, corporate IT and business managers are also able to accurately compare internally provided services with those offered from cloud computing providers and supports the IT organization’s ability to effectively communicate the value of technology.
The inherent benefits of a SaaS-based enterprise application over a premise-based alternative are clear. When applied to IT financial management, it offers a better return on investment and increased business intelligence that is impossible to obtain from manual or disparate processes. Any size organization can take advantage of enterprise application capabilities that were previously only available to large organizations and put rigor around IT financial management to optimize technology investments, control costs and provide technology that enhance business value and corporate ROI.