Driving business efficiency through SaaS automation
As companies continue to streamline, Redwood Software’s Neil Kinson makes the case for SaaS-based workload automation
Software as a service (SaaS) is the most commonly used option for businesses in the cloud market. The reason? It’s easily accessible, in which the only requirement is a solid internet connection and a browser. What’s more, the SaaS delivery model requires vendors to manage all the technical issues, meaning customers don’t need to lean on their in-house IT expertise. While the main benefits of SaaS are clear, one in particular became vital during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic – that which concerned its ability to scale. On short notice, companies sent their employees to work from home and had to make a large number of business processes exclusively digital. Those companies, using cloud resources, were able to make the transition more quickly than those without SaaS technology. Being able to flexibly adapt resources and processes to changing conditions effectively meant business processes were more resilient in a time of crisis. In fact, recent research has indicated that enterprise spending on SaaS and cloud services has risen significantly in the third quarter of 2020, and looks set to continue on an upward trend.
Neil Kinson, Chief of Staff, Redwood Software
It points to COVID-19 driving changes in enterprise behaviour and speeding up the transition from on-premise operations to cloud-based services. Furthermore, the research showed workloads are being shifted to public clouds even more quickly than anticipated and hosted software apps are especially attractive for enterprises navigating their way through the pandemic. Automation maintenance woes eliminated SaaS, and more widely cloud computing, can help businesses make the most of a limited IT budget while providing access to the latest technology and professional support. Despite the benefits and increased uptake of SaaS solutions, upgrading workplace automation tools can be stressful and time consuming. The user is often responsible for everything about them. In many cases the user will be responsible for the full technology stack, including networking, storage, servers and operating systems through to automation data and client applications. By maintaining automation systems on-premises, there is a lot of risk and downtime to contend with. As a simple example, a single update to some automation tools can require a chain of other updates to support it. First, the operating system needs an update, then the database driver, then each individually, and then the core system. This multiplies the effort, risk and downtime that an update involves.
Worse still, automation users may have to make difficult choices along the way when important security patches are released for the OS or middleware that are not compatible with or are supported by the user’s automation tool. Should the vulnerability remain unpatched, or should a patch be applied and disruption be risked? No matter the decision, the user loses. Updates to automation become stress-free With SaaS based workload automation, the effort and stress of keeping a workload automation system updated can become a thing of the past. SaaS eliminates the effort and time spent updating and maintaining automation systems, which inadvertently reduces the risks and costs of operations. And upgrades are complete in a matter of minutes. SaaS solutions do not require dedicated infrastructure. Therefore, there is no need to buy, license or deal with compatibility between hardware, OS, databases or middleware. Users do not need to install anything to use the system – everything is securely accessed through a web browser. And agents automatically update themselves everywhere. It all completes in minutes too. Managing increased connectivity and complexity Connectivity will also continue to grow as organisations expand their integrations with applications and embrace the cloud. With cloud infrastructures becoming increasingly diverse, and applications adding more layers of complexity, businesses will be looking to make their infrastructure more resilient. This will be achieved by gaining deeper visibility across their IT estates, and bringing more automation into their processes, from on-prem to hybrid cloud configurations. As we continue to work from home, employees are beginning to look at this year with some enthusiasm, buoyed by the fact that the UK has already started rolling out a mass vaccination program against COVID-19. There will of course be a period of adjustment before a new normal in business life is established. For companies wishing to maintain business as usual procedures, SaaS technology gives them the peace of mind to run all operational activities effectively and digitally across a multitude of platforms.