The unreasonable men had a good post here about SaaS. I wrote a long winded comment on their post only to have it lost in the ether so I’ll write about it over here instead.

The post was intentionally provocative and asked;

At the end of the day isn’t what this is all about, business. And in that context, isn’t SaaS just another example of the IT industry creating hype to fuel its growth, IPO and funding needs?

The contention was that SaaS is in no way revolutionary and an example of yet more IT industry hype.

Here’s my take on this discusion…..

SaaS in, and of, itself is not revolutionary. However a number of things are going on here;

  • Increased uptake of better broadband (and yes I know it’s all relative but even the crap broadband in NZ is better than 5 years ago)
  • A desire from busineses to add value to their enterprise
  • The converse desire to reduce business costs
  • A growing acceptance of the collaborative business model that utilises special purpose networks of valuable individuals
  • The mainstreaming of interactive, integrative and network based platforms (TradeMe, Google et al)

So what we see, rather than a revolution, is an alignment. A lot of things are currently aligned in such a way as to build synergy and scale and to, yes, change paradigms.

So.. to sum up. SaaS is not a revolution, but SaaS can ride a paradigm change and in doing so help be a factor in a revolution.

Thoughts anyone?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • I think the most important thing about SaaS is the ability to sneak in under the radar and start building user evangelists inside the company, who eventually gain the attention of management or IT who have to decide whether to (a) ban it, (b) ignore it, (c) encourage it, (d) mandate it.

    The fact that *users* can start evaluating SaaS “products” without upper management needing to get involved just saves everyone a lot of time, hassle, and money. If there’s no product/market fit, no time gets wasted. If there is, then less time gets wasted on sales and negotiations and so on before large numbers of people in the company get to take advantage.

    It’s win-win to a large extent because nobody has to pay for (a) attending or exibiting at the relevant industry conference, (b) the followup salestrips, (c) the demos and trials, (d) the lawyers to get the licencing, support and maintenance contracts right, (e) the company wide integration, installation and training (f) the support and maintenance contracts, (g) the eventual upgrade costs – all on top of the actual licencing cost of a traditional enterprise-grade client-server software application.

    Most but not all of these cost factors also apply to a lesser degree to webapps and webappliances installed in the company datacenter .

    The biggest cost savings occur when the documentation, training, maintenance, pre-sales info, trials, demos, support, and contracts all happen in basically one place – at the SaaS provider’s website.

    My comments should all be taken with a grain of salt. I’ve never worked for a large company. I just read a lot.

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