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Why Non-IT Employees Are Now Driving Decisions About SaaS And Cloud Applications

16 May 2018
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Ryan Duguid, SVP of technology strategy at Nintex, spoke with TechRepublic’s Dan Patterson about the role of non-IT employees in cloud transitions.

Watch the video or read the transcript of their conversation below:

Patterson: The cloud has had an undeniably transformative effect on the enterprise and SaaS, of course, is at the heart of cloud growth. Now, the growth of SaaS might be up to non-IT workers.

Ryan, thank you very much for your time today. I wonder if we could first define how SaaS has grown historically to this point, and then we’ll talk a little bit about why it’s up to non-IT employees to help the growth of the cloud, and cloud-based applications.

Duguid: Certainly, so at the end of the day, the massive upswing in SaaS is driven for obvious reasons, right? There’s cost savings associated with it, a lack of requirement for as many IT administrators to keep the lights on, but fundamentally, I think it’s about speed of delivery of technology to the business, and that’s always been a problem in the IT sector, and SaaS really makes the promise to solve that problem.

Patterson: So what is it about SaaS that has either reached an apex, or what is it that is now demanding non-IT employees to buy in as well?

Duguid: I think there’s two parts to this, right? The first part is that at the end of the day, SaaS has largely been driven by demand from the business. IT historically has struggled to keep up with the requirements of the business, and so the business is constantly pushing for the latest and greatest technology.

I think the other side of it, is now there’s a proliferation of SaaS vendors out there, when in the early days it was the big boys like the Workdays, and Salesforce and the likes. There’s not a SaaS application for everything, for every business function, for every industry, no matter how large or small, and so as a result there’s really this thirst or appetite for the business to get in and self-serve, even if IT’s not willing to be a part of that journey.

Patterson: Can you give us a profile of some of the IT and business technology decision makers who are now involved in the process of adopting SaaS solutions for the enterprise?

Duguid: Certainly, it’s the typical players, so it’s everything from the CIO down to the VP’s and directors of IT within an organization, but more importantly now what we’re starting to see is a lot of decisions being made by what we call line of business IT. Essentially, very smart technology-focused individuals within a particular department. So, for example, in the sales department, you’ll typically find a Salesforce administrator whose responsible for the deployment, the management, the feeding and nurturing of their Salesforce CRM, and so you’re starting to see a lot more of that type of role turn up within an organization, whether they’re responsible for Salesforce’s CRM, your human capital management systems or the likes, but it’s more of a de-centralized type of IT and larger organizations.

Patterson: Ryan, I wonder if you could leave us with a forecast, perhaps the next 6, 12, 18, months in the growth of not just SaaS, but the cloud, the multi-cloud and post-GDPR?

Duguid: Ha ha, post-GDPR. You know, I guess GDPR and other associated compliance requirements are sort of the stick that people wave to try and slow this down, but at the end of the day, the prediction I’d give is there’s no stopping this, right? This is how technology is delivered to the business now. It meets the needs of the business, the pace, it helps people tackle digital transformation, get ahead of disruptive competitors in the marketplace, and so I think you’re just going to see more and more, and from our perspective at Nintex what we’re really fascinated by is the concept of IT and the business working together, where IT is empowering the business to get their jobs done with SaaS platforms. But the business is the ones choosing the technology. It’s done with the right level of governance and control, but at the same time it’s delivered with the ease and flexibility that helps the average employee get their job done more effectively.

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