Sramana Mitra: Interesting. That still doesn’t solve the issue of these rogue applications being brought into the enterprise. Is there anything on your radar that’s trying to address that issue?
Steve Garrou: Of rogue applications being used within the enterprise?
SM: Yes. For example, there are thousands of SaaS applications today. Say somebody decides, OK, I’m going to use a social media analytics tool from XYZ, a little company that has not been validated by purchasing or anything. I just want to use it. The dangerous thing is right now, there is a lot of data that flows through these applications that could be critical data.
SG: That’s right. I think what we’ve seen is some of the larger desktop and software companies that manage infrastructure for clients. They have a CMDB (configuration management database). They’ve got image management for desktops, and you can distribute and harden OS and lock down devices. I think that’s the pendulum swinging in the other direction, where they’re trying to lock down and tighten up the image that the users have and the ability to access the application. I have definitely seem that from a number of customers, I would say, over the past 18 months. They’re driving that because of business decision. They probably had negative experiences with an app. Nature always finds a way. I think end users will also always find a way. The ability for end users to get access to that information and those new services is really important and is definitely a way for them to do their jobs better.
SM: Let me elaborate on the use case I’m thinking about. For instance, let’s say we’re talking about a large brand enterprise. This enterprise has a social media marketing team that is doing all sorts of things from their accounts, and there is a person who has built up a big Twitter following. The brand needs to track this person’s Twitter following because that person is representing the brand. I think there are some questions around all the analytics that go into managing that account. And then what happens if that person leaves? Who owns that Twitter account?
SG: That’s right. That’s sort of my “back to the future” comment. It’s all of the things we’ve learned about how to plan strategically within a company; how to have control over rights of information and confidentiality of IP within a company. Those policies and problems still need to be put in place. It’s not a technology problem per se. It’s a business conversation. It’s a business challenge that needs to be solved through policies and procedures. Technology will be an enabler or help enforce that policy or procedure. It shouldn’t be leveraged as the only means by which to accomplish the goals. That needs to be a business decision.
SM: OK. Are there any other major trends or problems you want to discuss in more detail?
SG: Yes. The other major one that we see that we want to go into is around the software space. We’re finding two things. One is that clients have gone through over the past 20 years or so is with large global license agreements and purchasing software licenses by the number of end users and the number of instances that the software is being used. That’s coming into conflict with cloud and with the as-a-service [paradigm]. What we’re finding is that our clients have the desire to take advantage of the cloud-based SaaS models, and they’re struggling with the large end user licenses that they’ve put in place. The software companies are figuring this out. They’re coming closer and closer each month to getting this solved right. But that really hindered the growth of SaaS and the cloud within the enterprise, within the IT organization. There wasn’t the ability to bring the end user licenses into that cloud space. The market actually reacted more quickly than the service providers.
The second area around software has to do with the notion of marketplaces coming together. This is another very large area for Savvis. We focus on working with software companies quite a bit and their move toward SaaS, for more of the older, more heritage companies. We’ve helped them get to the place where they’re no longer buying their assets, and they’re leveraging either a hosted private or public cloud infrastructure to host their applications. But we see more and more new companies coming up, taking advantage of the cloud and moving straight to software as a service as their only licensing model and their main licensing model for driving revenue. I think that trend will continue.