Tim Minahan recently penned a useful little number over on Supply Excellence that examines -- obviously in a somewhat partisan, anti-ERP/installed way -- the benefits of on-demand deployment models. The on-demand/installed question is a type of philosophical battle that resembles a religious war -- one that will go on until the end of time with certain stalwarts on both sides of the aisle, many just going to church (or seemingly serving as believers) because it's the right thing to do based on where they sit in life. Still, I find the discussion/debate over on-demand worth having, especially in what I'll call the "toss-up" areas of Spend Management technology which have not yet fully tipped one way or the other. These areas include eProcurement, EIPP and contract management (most sourcing and spend visibility deployments from the past 18 months are at least 80% on-demand from what I've gathered recently).
One area worth zeroing in on from Tim's post is how secure on-demand is. Citing a Burton / Ziff David study of CIOs, Tim notes that "while nearly half of CIOs expected a greater security risk, only 18% actually experienced issues. In fact, a number of CIOs reported selecting On Demand solutions because they provided greater security and performance than they could achieve by installing and managing applications in house." Still, declining security concerns won't necessarily be enough to overcome the integration and interoperability hurdles in large-scale eProcurement and EIPP implementations that span dozens of geographies, systems and instances. But in the case of contract management -- where the on-demand barrier is still very much due to security concerns from what I reckon -- this research should bode well.
- Jason Busch