Now we’re talking – the session I really wanted to see (apart from my own of course!). Panelists were;
- Gadi Shamia (Revongo)
- Daniel Druker (Intacct)
- Doug Harr (Ingres)
- Robert Hull (Adaptive Planning)
- Jeff Schultz (Bill.com)
Not surprisingly the recent Debes article came up – the crowd, not surprisingly, was dismissive of Debes contentions about the imminent demise of SaaS as a model.
First question was why aspire for 100% SaaS?
The panelists agreed that SaaS gives functionality to SMBs that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to access. There was also agreement around the enabling benefits of SaaS apps. Why build a data centre or expensive traditional software? When it’s so much more readily accessible and cheaper via SaaS.
In response to a question from the floor about whether or not SaaS is actually cheaper or whether that is just a marketing spin, Doug Harr from Ingres gave the example of a Siebel implementation for 150 salespeople that cost 1.5million. His new company implemented Salesforce.com which cost $140k/year for 130 users.
Another question from the floor raised security concerns for large businesses – the panelists agreed that they had no real concerns about their data being in the cloud.
What sort of business is more likely to adopt SaaS – not surprisingly the panelists felt technology companies were prime candidates, also service companies, young companies and rapidly growing organisations. Phil Wainewright brought up the issues around large businesses not going with SaaS due to their already sunken costs – again Doug Harr gave a great example where true total cost of ownership analysis can bring up surprising results – the costs and hassles with the old school behemoth software offerings are often sufficiently high to outweigh the monthly costs of a SaaS alternative.
Discussion around integration – feeling was at this point in time it’s acceptable but this is where the growth will come from – creating pseudo best-of-breed total solutions via integration of diverse offerings.
To be honest, given the fact that this conference is meant to be about visioning the future – it was a surprise that so much time was taken in justifying SaaS as a model – it would have been nice to see more time spent on a picture of what a truly 100% SaaS ecosystem would look and feel like – maybe next year….