Small and medium enterprises using software as a service : exploring the different roles of intermediaries

Venkatachalam, Nagarajan, Fielt, Erwin, Rosemann, Michael, & Mathews, Shane (2014) Small and medium enterprises using software as a service : exploring the different roles of intermediaries. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 18(3), pp. 371-389.

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Abstract

Software 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.

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ID Code: 78955
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Software as a Service, SaaS, Small and medium enterprises, SMEs, SaaS intermediaries
ISSN: 1326-2238
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Information Systems
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Australasian Association for Information Systems.
Copyright Statement: General permission to republish, but not for profit, all or part of this material is granted, under the Creative Commons Australian Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Licence, provided that the copyright notice is given and that reference is made to the publication, to its date of issue, and to the fact that reprinting privileges were granted by permission of the Copyright holder.
Deposited On: 27 Nov 2014 04:59
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2014 23:11

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