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BT: Businesses still in the dark about SaaS

The company says software as a service has reached tipping point, despite around 81 percent of customers being unaware of the technology

Many businesses are still not warming to software as a service, according to BT.

Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk sister site silicon.com, general manager of software as a service (SaaS) at BT Business, Chris Lindsay, said: "One of the problems that we've unearthed, in a survey we did recently, was that about 81 percent of customers we spoke to didn't really know about software as a service, and hadn't really considered that as part of their plans for their business."

Lindsay added that the message about the benefits of SaaS still needs to be spread. "It's quite eye-opening really, in terms of the lack of awareness, but [also] the benefits are very clearly spelt out by the customers who have adopted the services," he said.

According to research by BT — which recently linked up with NetSuite and SugarCRM for SaaS applications — 60 percent of companies using SaaS have reported a fall in costs, while 50 percent said it saves them time.

Despite the initially slow take-up, Lindsay said he believes SaaS has reached a tipping point.

Lindsay added: "Up until now, software as a service has been about proving the model and one or two hero brands kind of managing to prove and pioneer the way. What we're seeing now is that it's moving out of the innovators and early adopters to what we call the early majority."

A silicon.com CIO Jury last September found that, for half of the IT user panel, SaaS was either not on their radar at all or was very low priority. However, earlier this month, research by SaaS CRM company Salesforce.com found that many UK chief information officers feel business applications will increasingly be accessed via the internet, with 56 percent saying all applications used by their organisation will be hosted online within five years.

Others remain unconvinced on the subject of SaaS, with chair of the Citrix CTO office Martin Duursma recently that saying the technology remains "several years away" from being enterprise ready.