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Cloud Computing: : "Software as a Service"

Why "software as a service" is (or is not - pick one) going to dominate the next several years in information management.

The case for this module calls for you to explore some of the divergent opinions about this new approach to organizational information systems and weigh some of the competing claims. First off, if you don't know anything about computer networking or what a client/server netwiork is in particular, it's recommended that you start with this reasonably good short guide to network terminology (if you're already on top of this stuff, you can probably skip this one):

Sensible Computer Help (2008) Choosing the best computer network. Retrieved February 27, 2011, from

With that foundation, you can now begin to learn about "the cloud." A good general reference to start with is here:

Chee, B. and Franklin, C. (2010) Applications for Clouds. Chapter 4 in Cloud Computing: Technologies and Strategies of the Ubiquitous Data Center. CRC Press. Retrieved November 15, 2010 from (SEE ATTACHMENT)

As we noted in the introduction, a term often used more or less interchangeably with "cloud computing" (despite some significant differences of focus) is "software as a service" - described as a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet. The following article discusses some of the difficulties with organizational implementation of this model:

Fornes, D. (2010) The Software as a Service Dilemma. The Software Advice Blog. Retrieved November 10, 2010, from

Finally, this discussion would not be complete without the views of the skeptic; the following article points out some of the all-too-apparent complications that might ensue from a wholesale stampede into the clouds:

Schneier, B. (2009) Cloud Computing. Schneier on Security. Retrieved November 15, 2010 from

But back to the enthusiasts. SaasBlogs is a website that, in its own words, is "a community centered around the idea that Software as a Service (SAAS) represents the largest shift in the software industry in decades. We cover ideas, technologies, challenges, and business strategies related to this new and exciting paradigm." Basically, it's a lot of blog posts primarily authored by three experts, addressing a very wide range of topics related to SaaS deployment, use, and effects. It's a very good place to see how people committed to this model think and what they bring to the table. In fact, it's so good at this that it's going to be your primary source material for this case assignment.

Scrolling down the SaasBlogs home page points you to the archive of posts on various aspects of this issue. You should spend some time looking through these posts for discussions of things that you find interesting relating to SaaS operation, implementation, or results. Perhaps they will relate directly to issues in your own environment; perhaps they will remain largely academic - but in either case, you should be alert to the language of the discussion and how both technical and social issues are being talked about. There are also other SaaS-related blog sites that you may wish to look at (google a few and see what you find).

In addition, the Background Readings page lists some optional readings that may be useful to you as you consider these issues, or you may find other sources yourself (be sure to reference properly whatever specific sources you draw on).

When you've read through the articles and related material and thought about them carefully, please compose a short paper on the topic:

Why "software as a service" is (or is not - pick one) going to dominate the next several years in information


Solution Preview

Step 1
Software as a service is going to dominate the next several years in information technology. It has the potential of making work simple and cost effective for the information technology manager. Further, most web-based services are becoming more comprehensive and provide high standard services. The quality of hosted services is improving very quickly.

Step 2
Software as a service has several characteristics that have high potential. It is sold on demand by the hour. Next, the user can have as much of the service it needs. Also, the service is fully managed by the provider. Most importantly, if there is any improvement or innovation, these are distributed to customers. Software as a service is likely to impact information technology because of its potential of decreasing costs.

Step 3
Let us consider some specific services available now. Amazon Web Services allows access to "virtual server instance." This enables the user to start, stop, and configure his virtual server and storage. The company has to pay for only that much capacity as is needed. The user has the flexibility of increasing or decreasing the capacity used.

Step 4
Also users are currently able to use platform-as-a-service in which they can develop software on the service provider's software. Developers create applications over the Internet. Some examples of platform-as-a-service are GoogleApps and In future there will be interoperability or data portability in ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains cloud computing. The sources used are also included in the solution.