With a HatTip to SaaS week, read on.

OpSource, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is a big name in the SaaS world. Offering infrastructure technologies that power numerous SaaS providers and on-demand companies, OpSource has won numerous awards from various industry bodies and has been ranked highly in a number of industry innovator lists, so we thought it would be interesting to ask a few questions of OpSource’s CEO Treb Ryan.

Q: Please describe OpSource’s offerings in a nutshell.

A: OpSource delivers Web applications and SaaS for on-demand companies, with hundreds of applications, millions of users and billions of transactions supported daily.

Q: What sorts of business problems usually lead companies to solutions like
OpSource’s offerings?

A: Delivering services via the Web is not in the DNA of software companies.
Instead of diverting resources to build SaaS delivery capabilities internally, OpSource helps our customers meet the challenging customer requirements for on-demand, live, 24×7 access to software as a service. Delivering on-demand software that is highly available and reliable, in a scalable, secure environment, requires an entirely different customer support and operational infrastructure than on-premise licensed enterprise software.

Q: Is security a big problem when it comes to SaaS? What challenges do SaaS vendors face in guaranteeing security of applications?

A: Data security is actually a big benefit of SaaS. Good SaaS applications are always locked down in secure data centers, and are usually SAS 70 audited (all of our customers are because OpSource is SAS 70 Type II audited) and offer SLAs on data protection and security. Most current security issues are related to users that have lost laptops with critical data or tapes that have gone missing. This doesn’t happen with SaaS applications as the data never sits on the laptops. See to Phil Wainwright’s excellent blog post on the security advantages of SaaS.

Q: Where do you see SaaS going in 10 years? Do you think it will become the dominant mode of software delivery?

A: Absolutely. IDC estimates that the worldwide software-on-demand delivery model will reach $14.5 billion by 2011, representing a compound annual growth rate of 33%. Not everything will be delivered on-demand, but certainly the more innovative applications will be delivered via the Web. We’re seeing that already. SaaS has enabled a level of innovation that did not exist before.

Applications that were merely a glimmer in someone’s eyes a few years ago are now a reality because of SaaS. The ability to collaborate and leverage Web 2.0 technologies has completely changed the business landscape, whether it’s the way businesses operate with consumers (eBay, Google, Amazon), or the way businesses interact with other businesses. For example, Brightidea enables businesses to work together more effectively across the workforce to spur innovation and new ideas; Etology enables buyers and sellers to easily conduct online advertising transactions, while Mediserve enables patients and doctors to collaborate post-op during the rehabilitation period.

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.

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