Exploring decisive factors affecting an organization’s SaaS adoption: A case study

Wu, Wei-Wen, Lan, Lawrence W. & Lee, Yu-Ting (2011): Exploring decisive factors affecting an organization’s SaaS adoption: A case study, International Journal of Information Management, Vol. 31, Issue 6, p.556-563. 6p. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2011.02.007

Keywords: Software as a Service (SaaS), Adoption, Trust, Decision Making Trial and Evaluation, Laboratory (DEMATEL)

Wu, Wei-Wen, Lan, Lawrence W. & Lee, Yu-Ting start by defining cloud services as a group of service solutions involving computing, data storage, and software available through the Internet where customers do not own or operate the service provided. The cloud process all the information given by the user to then send back its results. This model allows organizations to focus on its core business and lessens the burden of developing and maintaining complicated IT systems.

Cloud computing can be divided into three categories: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Nevertheless, SaaS is regarded as potentially the most important model for scaling IT performance. Despite this information, organizations are still hesitant to use it due to trust concerns. It is stated that SaaS has an attractive growth potential as SMEs have yet to start using SaaS extensively. Among the reasons why it is not yet widely-spread in this segment, concern about data security represents the stronger factor. Therefore, focusing on trust to highlight perceived benefits and diminish perceived risks is the approach recommended for all marketing efforts. Nonetheless, adopting new technologies or services solutions is still commonly seen as a way to improve competitiveness in an organization.

Trust plays a decisive role in the acceptance of perceived benefits and the lessening of perceived risks for this business model. This is why, the authors propose a solution framework where they treat perceived benefits and perceived risks as two different arguments in order to develop a visible cause-effect graph to aid organizations in their decision making towards SaaS. They define trust as the willingness to behave risky in uncertain situations as it is believed that expected benefits might overcome the negative aspects.

Although trust is a main driver for the accomplishment of any e-commerce, perceived risks, technical and subjective, act as barriers for the adoption of this service, while perceived benefits represent a motivation for adoption. The study aims to select the most important set of perceived benefits and perceived risks for SaaS adoption using the DEMATEL model to conduct a cause-effect analysis. To do so, they use a case study centering on a Taiwanese technological company. Out of all the factors studied, it is concluded that an easy and fast deployment of the service, and its potential in the future are the most relevant benefits to business. On the other hand, data locality and security, and authentication and authorization are mentioned as the most important perceived risks preventing adoption. These perceived risks are, however, subjective rather than technical, as organizations commonly dislike the lack of ownership and control on cloud computing deployment.

These results tell us that SaaS businesses should emphasize the subjective but strategical aspects of delegating security control to SaaS. The writers divide two types of SaaS customers: the organizations focusing on perceived benefits, where SaaS vendors can focus on their strategical competitive advantage, and the organizations focusing on perceived risks, where vendors should reduce security concerns by communicating best practices of successful businesses using SaaS, and expert recommendations.



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