Small and Medium Enterprises using Software as a Service: Exploring the different roles of intermediaries
AbstractSoftware as a Service (SaaS) can provide significant benefits to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) due to advantages like ease of access, 7*24 availability, and utility pricing. However, underlying the SaaS delivery model is often the assumption that SMEs will directly interact with the SaaS vendor and use a self-service approach. In practice, we see the rise of SaaS intermediaries who can support SMEs with sourcing and leveraging SaaS. This paper reports on the roles of intermediaries and how they support SMEs with using SaaS. We conducted an empirical study of two SaaS intermediaries and analysed their business models, in particular their value propositions. We identified orientation (technology or customer) and alignment (operational or strategic) as themes for understanding their roles. The contributions of this paper include: (1) the identification and description of SaaS intermediaries for SMEs based on an empirical study and (2) understanding the different roles of SaaS intermediaries, in particular a more basic role based on technology orientation and operational alignment and a more value adding role based on customer orientation and strategic alignment. We propose that SaaS intermediaries can address SaaS adoption and implementation challenges of SMEs by playing a basic role and can also aim to support SMEs in creating business value with SaaS based solutions by playing an added value role.
Copyright (c) 2014 Nagarajan Venkatachalam, Erwin Fielt, Michael Rosemann, Shane Mathews
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