SaaS is underwhelming

Gartner survey shows that customers are unimpressed

July 8, 2009

Gartner survey shows that customers are unimpressed

A recent survey by Gartner has revealed that although software as a service (SaaS) is more mainstream and less controversial than ever before, many customers are underwhelmed by their current experience of it.

The survey found that the apparent acceptance of SaaS as a viable model has not entirely translated into satisfied users of SaaS.

“Our research findings did not exactly provide a ringing endorsement of SaaS, in fact I would go as far as to say that satisfaction levels among SaaS users are little more than lukewarm,” said Ben Pring, research vice president at Gartner. “Although macroeconomic factors would seem to favor SaaS providers, almost two thirds of respondents said that they planned only to maintain their current levels of SaaS in the next two years.”

Gartner found that 58 percent of organizations will maintain current levels of SaaS in the next two years, 32 percent will expand, 5 percent will discontinue and 5 percent will decrease levels.

When asked to identify the top three factors that they would consider in making their decision to deploy SaaS, meeting technical requirements was the top overall consideration at 46 percent, followed by security, privacy and/or confidentiality at 33 percent and ease of integration and functionality needed for business unit owners, both at 29 percent.

“At a time when SaaS is becoming more of a consideration for more enterprises, the results of this survey will be somewhat disquieting for SaaS vendors,” said Twiggy Lo, principal research analysts at Gartner. “Underwhelming customer satisfaction scores, hesitation over the true cost of SaaS solutions, and concerns regarding how successfully SaaS applications can be integrated with other applications all point to issues that will need addressing and resolving.”

Lo said that SaaS vendors must reaffirm the fundamentals of the SaaS model — that SaaS solutions are lighter, simpler, more intuitive, more agile and more modest.