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It’s official: SaaS is now mainstream

It must be mainstream if Unisys and IBM are blessing itLately, I’ve done a couple of briefings with some large, serious, mainstream firms who have whispered their SaaS (software as a service) plans to me.Let’s start with Unisys.
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor on

It must be mainstream if Unisys and IBM are blessing it

Lately, I’ve done a couple of briefings with some large, serious, mainstream firms who have whispered their SaaS (software as a service) plans to me.

Let’s start with Unisys. Unisys is a very large systems integrator and hardware provider. Last week, they announced a number of new offerings to help clients make more of their application portfolio SaaS and cloud enabled. Unisys placed these offerings in an umbrella service offering called ‘secured cloud computing’.

In short, they’ll help a CIO transform more of their application portfolio to the cloud. Whose cloud? Unisys can make it their cloud or put a CIO’s offerings on other clouds like Amazon’s. Why is this important now? Unisys is betting that lots of CIOs would like to transition more demand volatility, server (size, quantity and demand) volatility, capital hardware costs, etc. to a cloud provider. CIOs can have their staff focus on develop strategic apps instead of keeping all their apps functioning on a lot of company owned hardware.

Unisys is also addressing a number of security concerns CIOs have about cloud computing. In particular, they have technologies to hide and encrypt data in-flight between web browsers and the cloud environment. Data on cloud servers is also encrypted to further secure it. To mitigate the performance drain that encryption can cause, much of this encrypt/decrypt activity is done in-core memory. These technologies can be deployed as software agents or appliances.

Beyond their technical abilities, the Unisys announcements also contained a number of consulting service offerings. Offerings such as: - cloud advisory services - security advisory services - secure cloud value assessment services - cloud application assessment services - etc.

IBM has also crafted a group of consulting and outsourcing services to also help CIOs move into the cloud world.

So, let’s examine where the SaaS world has moved now. Originally, we had pioneers create the initial products and demand. That was ten years ago when Salesforce.com hit the scene. In subsequent years, we’ve seen highly innovative firms, like Amazon, make their cloud services available to clients.

Now, the conservatives in the industry are really embracing SaaS. When these behemoths get on board with a new technology, they do so with one goal: the rapid uptake of this technology into their client base. Unisys and IBM are doing that now.

Soon, every CIO from a mid-size firm and bigger will get multiple sales calls from numerous purveyors of cloud and SaaS solutions. Sure, they’ve gotten pitches from other firms in the past but now they’ll face a tsunami of sales calls from the large firms (services and hardware) who want to ‘help’ them make these moves into the cloud.

When the market stalwarts move into a new space, they do so only when they are convinced that it’s real and it’s here to stay. So, thank you Unisys and IBM for bringing the legitimacy to the SaaS and cloud space.

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