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Hybrid Cloud For Dummies by Dan Kirsch, Fern Halper, Marcia Kaufman, Judith Hurwitz

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Examining Examples of SaaS Platforms

You may be overwhelmed when you look at how many companies have created SaaS offerings — even companies whose primary focus is the on-premises model feel compelled to offer a SaaS version of their offerings (or are forced to by customer demands).

The reality is that SaaS comes in all shapes and sizes. Applications run the gamut from accounting to customer relationship management, supply chain management, financial management, and human resources. These integrated offers focus on a specific process, such as managing employees’ benefits, salaries, and annual performance reviews. These products tend to have several characteristics in common: They’re designed with specific business processes built in that customers can modify. They have moved in great numbers to the cloud because customers were finding the platforms too hard to manage and users needed access to the application while on the go.

SaaS is also popular for collaborative applications. This area is dominated by software that focuses on all sorts of collaborative efforts, including web conferencing, document collaboration, project planning, instant messaging, and even e-mail. In a sense, it was inevitable that these platforms would move to the cloud: These tasks occur throughout the organization and need to be easily accessed from many locations.

In the next section, we give you a taste for some of the vendors in the SaaS space, what they offer customers, and the issues to consider. We ...

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