Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is said to become an important cornerstone of the Internet of Services. However, while some market research and IT provider firms fervently support this point-of-view, others already conjure up the failure of this on-demand sourcing option due to considerable risks associated with SaaS. Although there is a substantial body of research at the intersection of traditional and on-demand IT outsourcing and risk management, existing research is virtually silent on analyzing the risks of SaaS. This study thus seeks to deepen the understanding of a comprehensive set of risk factors affecting the adoption of SaaS and discriminates between SaaS adopters and non-adopters. Grounded in perceived risk theory, we developed a research model that was analyzed with survey data of 379 firms in Germany. Our analysis revealed that security risk was the dominant factor influencing companies’ overall risk perceptions on SaaS-based sourcing. Moreover, we found significant differences between adopters’ and non-adopters’ perceptions of performance and financial risks. Overall, this study provides relevant findings that potential and actual SaaS clients may use to better assess SaaS-based offerings. For SaaS providers, our study gives important factors to emphasize when offering SaaS services to companies in different stages of the technology adoption lifecycle.
Benlian, Alexander and Hess, Thomas, "The Risks of Sourcing Software as a Service – An Empirical Analysis of Adopters and Non-Adopters" (2010). ECIS 2010 Proceedings. 142.