Software as a service leaves users feeling 'underwhelmed'

It's all a bit lukewarm

It's all a bit lukewarm

While software as a service (SaaS) may be becoming more mainstream, many businesses are left feeling "underwhelmed" by it, according to new research.

Analyst house Gartner quizzed more than 300 enterprises in the UK and US on the functionality, responsiveness and reliability of SaaS technology, to determine their satisfaction with hosted software. The scores were less than spectacular.

Big name tech vendors have been keen to push SaaS as a lower-cost, easier to manage alternative to traditional on-premises software. However, low customer satisfaction could mean that the move towards SaaS - which has led CIOs to predict all software will be hosted by 2013 - could be hobbled by customers finding the hype not matching up to the reality.

On a scale of one to seven - with seven being highest - Gartner found the average SaaS customer satisfaction score was 4.32 for UK users and 4.94 for US users.

Gartner research VP Ben Pring said the research findings "did not exactly provide a ringing endorsement of SaaS" and that satisfaction levels are "little more than lukewarm".

"Although macroeconomic factors would seem to favour SaaS providers, almost two-thirds of respondents said that they planned only to maintain their current levels of SaaS in the next two years," he said in a statement.

While around a third of businesses said they plan to increase their use of SaaS in the coming two years, the research found that five per cent of respondents will stop using SaaS completely over the same period with the same proportion saying they will be reducing levels of use.