Confidence In SaaS Increases By 62% Amongst Small And Medium
New research reveals the impact of the recession on Software as a Service (SaaS), with hosted CRM proving most popular with small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
A recent survey conducted by Really Simple Systems, the UK's largest hosted CRM vendor, has revealed that small and medium sized enterprises are embracing hosted applications at a faster rate than ever. The annual survey questions SME business owners, directors, sales, marketing and IT managers, on their views of SaaS and the reliability of the products currently available in the market.
From a sample of 466 respondents, the majority from small and medium sized organisations with less than 50 employees, 62 per cent report increased confidence in hosted applications between March 2009 and March 2010. This is mirrored by the 62 per cent who agreed that hosted applications had been made a more attractive proposition by the current state of the economy.
John Paterson, CEO of Really Simple Systems comments, "These figures very much reflect our day to day experience in the marketplace. The economic instability over the last 18 months has sharpened SMEs' search for value for money; hosted systems' pricing and fast ROI offers them an extremely attractive solution."
Paterson continues, "Our survey revealed that 80 per cent of respondents agree that hosted systems require less internal IT-support. This is key in showing how SaaS is being realised as a means of dramatically reducing IT overheads and removing the burden of system maintenance for small organisations who would rather allocate that resource to developing the business. Furthermore, the added advantage of SaaS is that business-critical information is readily available at all times, from any computer with internet connectivity, allowing more flexible working across the business."
The survey confirmed that hosted CRM continues to outshine ERP, Payroll, HR and Manufacturing as the preferredSaaS offering for SMEs. ERP, Payroll, HR and Manufacturing offerings have improved their penetration in the SME market but continue to lag behind. 67 per cent of respondents reported that they are confident in hosted CRM with 41 per cent actively using hosted CRM applications. Hosted ERP trails behind CRM with only 13 per cent of respondents using ERP SaaS applications and only 39 per cent reporting confidence in hosted ERP applications.
Hosted CRM has almost completely caught up with in-house CRM for SMEs, with 41 per cent of respondents now using hosted applications as opposed to 42 per cent using in-house CRM. Paterson comments, "The rate at which SaaS CRM applications have closed the gap on in-house systems is very impressive. Last year, the split was 47/36 per cent in favour of in-house, which just goes to show how far SaaS has come in the last few years, impacted heavily by the economy."
Outsourced CRM systems continue to prove unpopular with only 2.6 per cent of respondents opting for this option and the number of respondents not using any CRM system stands at 14 per cent, a one percent drop from the same time last year. Paterson adds "The relatively stagnated state of the outsourced CRM market and the small change in those with no CRM system, would indicate that there has been a migration away from in-house to hosted systems, rather than new adopters entering the market."
The survey also revealed that almost half of respondents feel as confident about the reliability, speed, data safety, and functionality of SaaS applications as they do with in-house offerings. This is indicative of the now almost identical usage of hosted and in-house CRM.
Furthermore, the research also showed that 37 per cent of those questioned planned to spend more on IT in the next 12 months than they had done compared with the last 12 months. Paterson concludes, "This is encouraging news for the IT sector as a whole and with the affordability offered by hosted applications, the rewards of a buoyant SaaS marketplace may reach further that first thought."
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