I recently read an interesting perspective on SaaS (Software as a Service) application development within the life sciences industry, and how it compares to the traditional enterprise hosted model. It was interesting as the perspective was coming from a Bay Area Venture Capitalist who invests in a broad portfolio of up and coming life science companies.
One of the key points made was the difference between integrating the application to the necessary departments within the organization. Typically, enterprise deployments are built to integrate across departments, and require the feedback and buyoff of a variety of departmental team members with budget constraints and sometimes vastly different priorities and initiatives. The other major consideration with an enterprise deployment is the need to involve the organization’s IT department. Again, this could be problematic if the IT department resources and capabilities don’t match the needs of the individual departments. Compromising a solution at this stage won’t please anyone.
Many SaaS-based applications are scalable by design, allowing customers to integrate with additional departments and content as needed, not as required. Certain SaaS applications also provide excellent flexibility for study teams where certain individuals manage information and content outside of their primary departmental function. Furthermore, SaaS applications provide customers with an option for little or no internal IT resource commitments. With web-hosted, SaaS-based applications, data is managed and stored on a secure server managed by the application developer. As this is the primary core of their business, they can typically offer customer support, a higher degree of data security, and the cost to manage this security is absorbed by the developer. For the organization, this translates to little to no hardware cost to integrate. For life science companies looking to reduce costs, a SaaS offered solution is a way to take advantage of the benefits afforded by an enterprise application, while quickly deploying a solution to the departments and end users that need it.
Bruce Cleveland, author of the linked article, shares a VC perspective:
“SaaS solutions are gaining traction in enterprise because unlike traditional enterprise software, which requires the buy-in and support of multiple divisions within a company, SaaS departmental applications can be sold directly to the line of business owner. They require little to no training, integration or involvement with IT for initial implementation or long-term maintenance and support. The pricing model - monthly subscription v. perpetual license - is also a variable versus a capital expense, making them even more compelling.”
CTMS as Software-as-a-Service: Bringing CTMS to the End Users
By offering subscription based pricing through a SaaS-based CTMS model, departmental managers may have found a price point which gives them budget and decision making control to ultimately be the decision makers regarding SaaS-based application integration. As the end user, they are best suited to find a solution that works best for them, and now they can decide and when to integrate and which end users need to involved, empowering them to find the best solution for their needs.