Freeform Dynamics The prevailing view among SaaS evangelists seems to be that if it’s hosted and charged for on a price per user per month basis, or better still free, then it must be good. This is a religious standpoint that is no more useful or valid than oft-heard claims that open source software is universally better than …
And here's me thinking it was an article about the Student Awards Agency of Scotland.
Yes, we know SaaS means "Software as a Service", but it would help if you define the term in the article. Sometimes we need to point Reg articles to managers and they point to acronym arrogance of why we geeks make it difficult to communicate with.
It just takes two parentheses and four words to make your article accessible.
I couldn't agree more..
Although when we started Cobweb's Hosted Exchange service in 2002 it was in search of a recognisable product, with a brand and features that most potential customers would understand. We wanted to be directly compared with an on premise solution and compete on our value as managed service providers. Its my view that by being in the 'cloud' will one day give us a wider, richer more useful service versus a traditional on premise solution. Today this is still only partially realised, Exchange as a hosted service, has still a long way to go, with significant advances over the next couple of years.
If its in the cloud or not should not matter, its the value we bring to business function and flexibility that SaaS, and its suppliers should be judged on.
premise: a proposition antecedently supposed or proved as a basis of argument or inference
premises: a building together with its grounds or other appurtenances
Data integration is critical to SaaS
The SaaS model ignores all the issues of reusability and integration with the existing world. It's actually been a boon to our data integration business for companies investing in SaaS to be able to bring back the data into the enterprise, clean it and ensure that it is accurate.
Checkout some of the data integration issues with SaaS at http://blogs.informatica.com/ondemand/
My biggest concern over SaaS is in regards to data integrity.
Data more than ever is the critical component of any business.
Do you want your critical data, the thing that makes an organisation what it is, hosted by a potential competitor?
If you are a software development house, do you really want your source code, architecture documents, design documents, hosted by say IBM providing this SaaS servcice? Or Microsoft, or Google?
If you are a finance website, say Forbes or similiar, do you want a competitor having access to your propriety data, say Google (finance.google.com) or Yahoo (finance.yahoo.com) to have your data hosted on their servers where they can mine it for themselves? Or even inject bogus data in to ruin your forecasts etc?
Do you want your internal emails being available for an external organisation to search for 'juicy' tidbits to sell off to competitors or even the media?
Even if the external SaaS providers do not use the data directly to sell on, maybe they use it for gathering statistical analysis. Perhaps Nielsen starts providing SaaS services and using the data stored to provide its statistical analysis, which it sells for a profit, thus earning money from you twice. Once from the subscription model, then again by selling results of mining your data.
It just makes no commercial sense to me to hand over your core business data to another organisation.
Milking the cash cow
Agreed with Justin above, which is why we'll have nothing to do with SaaS at our company. The other issue I have with this is the pay-per-use system. Why should we keep on paying and paying when we can just buy an application outright and have done with it? (e.g. we're still using Word/Excel 97 in our office, since it does everything we need). This whole SaaS thing is a scam by big companies to push the "rent instead of buy software" business model. Ha. Forget it.
SaaS isn't just about the cost of Software
When you compare the cost of software by the month to software in the box, it's a good idea to compare apples to apples. A SaaS application includes the use of a server to run it on, its implementation and operation management (including patching, updating, etc.), and help services. When you install software yourself, you get to pay for all of that, too. Not just once, but every month, year in and year out. That doesn't mean you'll pick SaaS for everything; it does mean that sometimes SaaS can be a good choice, based on the economics.
It also means you ocan start using it right away, rather than waiting for your in-house team to implement and test your software of choice. Sometimes time to usage counts, too.
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