A response to Zoli’s SaaS observation…

Over on Zoli’s blog, he posted trying to dispel three myths about SaaS, namely;

1 – SaaS is simpler, easier to implement than On-premise software

2 – SaaS is for the SMB market

3 – SaaS is bought, not sold, it’s the end of Enterprise Sales

I agree with Zoli on point two, SaaS is for everyone not just SMBs. I also don’t want to join in the discussion about selling SaaS – it’s not where my interest or skills lie. That just leaves one comment and that’s number one.

Zoli points out in his post that;

The only part that’s absolutely true is the technical installation, which the customer no longer has to worry about with SaaS.  But we all know that this is a fraction of a typical implementation.  Implementations are all about business process and training, hence the difficulty / duration / cost of an implementation depends on the complexity of business and the size of the organization – these two tend to correlate with each other.

I believe differently – sure if the statement read “with SaaS their is no real implementation pain”, I’d be fully in agreement with Zoli in saying the statement was wrong. But all this one says is that it’s easier – I’m not sure how one can argue this, the essence of SaaS is that all users within an organisation will be utilising the same instance, if you like the same flavour of application,clearly grass roots implemntation will be easier when everyone is seeing, using and experiencing the same thing.

Similarly most SaaS applications utilise similar user interface elements thus creating commonality between apps – I contend therefore that for users to understand the way a SaaS app works is inherently easier than with on-premise bloatware.

I like to drag out this diagram at SaaS presentations, it comes from Gartner customer surveys and shows the time to ROI for on-premise software (on the left) and SaaS (on the right). Now sure I hear you say, Zoli was talking about simplicity and implementation pain whereas this graph looks at ROI. But I contend that speedier ROI by definition indicates an easier implementation process.

All in all the proof of the pudding is in the eating, I agree 100% with Zoli when he says that;

I am a strong believer that in 4-5 years most software developed will be SaaS, and that in 10 years it will be the predominant method of “consuming” software by large enterprises

Bring it on!

5 Comments
  • Ben, you got me there, I will update my post. I wrote it in a specific context while participating at an internal SAP Marketing Meeting (virtual… as in SaaS) and forgot to revise it when I posted it on my own blog. So let’s see:

    – If we’re talking about productivity tools like editors, spreadsheets, calendars..etc, then you are right, since their “implementation” is nothing more than the technical installation and updates, so SaaS is clearly a lot shorter / easier / cheaper.

    – In the context of business process software, be it CRM, Accounting, HCM, ERP ..etc the technical installation is a fraction of the entire implementation effort, and that’s what I am talking about.

    I would leave the long-term ROI out, it’s an entirely different story.

    Btw, you do know I am as pro-SaaS as it gets, but over-hyping does not help.

  • Pingback: 3 Half-Truths about SaaS| Zoli’s Blog

  • Zoli

    Firstly I’m stoked that you read my post (or maybe it was just the trackback that got your attention!)

    Agree with your points re the demarcation between office productivity apps and all the “heavier” stuff. And again agree that installation is only a small part of the implementation for these heavy apps but still I contend that total implementation (including training, process etc etc) is quicker and easier for SaaS than on-premise.

    We are however splitting hairs seeing we’re both SaaS evangelists – cheers for the thoughts

  • Hey, I have you in my reader :-)

  • I’ll aim to live up to the responsibility!

    :-)

  • G’day – great blog, learned a lot.

    You don’t happen to have a link to that Gartner customer survey do you? We’re a Christchurch based Saas company that is just starting out and it seems like it’d be a great reference for us.

    Check us out and let me know what you think – we provide compliance management solutions for Quality, health & safety, and risk management.

    Cheers,

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