Pareto, Saas, and the “Real World” (Part 2)

NOTE: For clarity, I separated this post from the earlier post on SaaS and implementation costs.

Of course, while RICEF+Workflow needs to happen — somehow, someway — that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make it easier.  In fact, the SaaS vendors have some sweet widgety and Web 2.0 ways of making reports, interfaces, etc. easier than in ERP systems.  SAP itself has made migration, interfacing, etc. much easier — ESOA and the service-enabled world is an excellent foundation.

Of course, the messy parts are the people.  IT folks have an investment — mental and emotional — in their old ways of designing, building, and maintaining these objects.  The most reactionary elements in traditional IT are the development managers — getting these imperialist lackeystraditionalists to consider a new paradigm (e.g., agile vs. SDLC) requires a substantial amount of re-education ummm…change management.  

Of course, the worst didn’t even conform to their professed creed (e.g., no documentation).  The power of having the data model in one’s head is not to be underestimated.  This lack of detail adds even more overhead to the costs of other approaches for lowering RICEF+WF TCO, like enabling business types to compose services for RICEF+WF, outsourcing or near sourcing, or upskilling existing staff.  Furthermore, is there really that much talent sitting around that can be repurposed to anything? 

The bottom line is that I’m not sure that SaaS will buy all that much more than other implementation accelerators.  Sure, I believe that it will lower the cost of the 20% driven by the 80% functionality.  Unfortunately, SW TCO “80%” cost drivers are driven that last 20% to create the firm-specific “bits to bricks and back” model.


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