Do SaaS Applications Fundamentally Change the Role of IT?

I was reading an interesting post on the Force Monkey blog this weekend about the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2010 Beta and the challenge it may (or may not) represent to both and traditional IT departments:  Will the Upcoming Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta Challenge Salesforce? While the post points out both opportunities and challenges for Microsoft (nice job JP!), I thought the LinkedIn group comments from Cheral Stewart (another guru CRM administrator) about the role of IT when it comes to implementing and managing software as a service applications and platforms were extremely interesting:

“Having been a Administrator for over 5 years with a detour to MS CRM 3.0 in the middle, I have a hard time believing MS will be able to challenge The inherent difference that I see is Microsoft is still too concerned with maintaining control of the CRM through IT Departments and IT consultants. This slows innovation, internal busines change, and most strikingly, empowerment of the business Users.
“The reason so many business users/departments now pay for their licenses and the support staff is that they want to quickly respond to changing business climate. They do not want to go through 2-4 weeks of CABs, written requests, funding allocation and final review while waiting to have the dropdown choices in one field change.
“IT Departments that are focused on quickly managed innovation, not just control, do not find their business users purchasing SaaS programs like outside of IT. The innovative IT Department welcomes the SaaS programs and seeks full integration between all the information systems to materialize the competitive advantage CRM offers.”

Is it me or did Cheral just speak on behalf of all CRM / SaaS administrators? If IT departments focus less on control and more on “managed innovation” and “full integration” will SaaS application ROI be maximized?

And if they don’t, is a cloud data disaster inevitable?


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