We recently did a demonstration of our SharePoint business application suite for a major Association. The organization contacted us to look into one of our Office 365 SharePoint Online applications. They proudly stated that the organization was embracing a technology strategy to “move to the cloud”. They are moving to Remedyforce for IT Helpdesk, Saleforce for CRM, two cloud HR apps, a home grown Intranet, cloud email and more.
Each of these systems has separate user interfaces, and most have separate sign-ons. Plus they are using SharePoint (another sign-on and user interface) for collaboration and document sharing. So while they may lower hardware costs by deploying “siloed SaaS applications” they are creating more complexity for the business user by making them carry around a notebook of passwords and a binder of user manuals for each new application. Additionally information sharing and data integration between applications is nearly impossible. The following is from PC Magazine as the definition of a siloed application:
"An application that does not interact with other applications or information
systems. A siloed application is any software that functions on its own to solve
a problem. Such applications are often found within the many departments of
Whether you are in the cloud or on-premise, the siloed model occurs when individual departments choose applications with department blinders on. Choosing a siloed application without consideration for the impact on users outside the department and the organizations need for dynamic information connectivity will create big problems down the road. It is the IT and Operational Executive responsibility to stop
So how do you get the benefits of cloud technology without the pitfalls of individual SaaS siloed applications? Try starting with a Cloud Technology Platform instead. With this approach you start with a common collaboration platform like Microsoft Office 365 which combines email, communication, social networking, document management and business process automation into a single cloud based infrastructure. This gives your users a single sign-on, common MS Office like interface and fully integrated email, messaging and document management environment. Add SharePoint Online for business process automation, with business applications from companies like SP Marketplace and you get integrated business applications like Intranet Portal, CRM, HR, Employee Self-Service, IT Help Desk and more.
With this approach you will quickly realize the cloud productivity benefits, savings and have a happy user base. The strategy can be implemented in a phased manner, moving your email and collaboration applications to the cloud, and then following with an Intranet and then department applications one-by-one. The ROI, will amaze you. Instead of paying maintenance or subscription fees on 5-10 different applications, you consolidate to 1-3. User support goes down because of the single sign-on and common user interface. Any you will be dealing with a few vendors rather than many.
If you are in the early stages of your cloud strategy development, think about a cloud platform approach, rather than Siloed SaaS solutions. We wish you success in the Cloud!