Sunday, June 10, 2012

Evaluating Software as a Service

The allure of the cloud for faster deployments of new capabilities with potentially lower equipment and labor costs are hard to turn away from.  For small businesses that either don’t have the capacity or don’t wish to grow their data center, the cloud can be the way to go.  I’ll first focus on evaluating software as a service (SaaS) solutions.  The assumption here is that you will, at a minimum, evaluate SaaS against a local deployment of the solution.  In the near future, I’ll focus on how you might evaluate using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - using the cloud like a data center.

My example evaluation below will use a simple table in a spreadsheet.  The table can contain as many columns as you have solution options.  I’ll break up the evaluation into two sections, one for items that we can put a dollar figure on, one that will contain a rating with a possible multiplier.  The multiplier services as a weighting mechanism where the higher the multiplier, the more important the feature or capability is.  When using a rating (say 1 to 5), larger is better.  I’ll draw from my earlier posts, “Benefits of Cloud Computing” and “Challenges and Risks of Cloud Computing” to help come up with the rating criteria.