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8 Myths of Software-as-a-Service

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the everyone-wants-to-go-back-to-the-dot-com-era dept.

169

abb_road writes "BusinessWeek looks at the current state of software-as-a-service, arguing that the model is well established and is distinct from failed ASP/Hosting models of the dot-com era. Far from a passing fad, the model is starting to see large-scale adoption, and traditional vendors are having trouble revamping their applications and financials to get in on the action. From the article, 'As SaaS gains mainstream acceptance, it is becoming an important disruptive force in the software industry. And as long as the quality and reliability of SaaS solutions continues to improve, the appeal of SaaS isn't going to go away.'"

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there are already disservices. (5, Funny)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143915)

they have had disservices for a long time... just look at windows. it's a huge disservice.

Re:there are already disservices. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144163)

...and look at Linux in the Nokia 770 as another example of software disservice.

Oh goody! More buzzwords! (5, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143924)

To condense the article down: SaaS is a fancy term for outsourced business operations. The only difference is that companies provide communications about these services through... (wait for it)

(wait for it)

(keep waiting)

the INTERNET!

Are you impressed yet? It's very Web 2.0, I'm sure. Some of them might even use AJAX and Social Networking and Portal Technology and Peer to Peer Business to Customer relationships and ...

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (2, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143985)

Yeah. It just sounds like more ways to extract money from the customer under a moniker. I didn't read the article so I don't know if they are talking about the consumer market or the commercial marketplace in this specific instance.

But in the consumer market, ebay has been making it's auction software (blackthorne) a service for the longest time now, where it gets rented for 25 bucks a month (ever since they bought out the company who originally made it). Not too painful monthly, especially if your (small) business relies on it, but not many people would fork over $360 bucks a year, year in and year out, for what is essentially a mediocre (crappy and slow access database) program. It's hardly professional quality stuff, I may add.

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (4, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144405)

The big problem with these services is not that they are crappy applications, but that you get into "All Your Data are belong to us" situations. It makes migrating to and from a service Very difficult, expensive, and timeconsuming - if you can do it at all.

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (3, Funny)

Unski (821437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143996)

The article acknowledged that this was merely the reincarnation of old-style Application Service Providers but also said that the current climate is more permissive for several, well, err 2, reasons;

"Today's economic and competitive pressures make nearly any form of outsourcing fair game."

"Many companies now consider various IT functions and business applications commodities and not core competencies."

In trying to explain the new-wave of software rental services It further notes that:

"Companies of all sizes are taking advantage of SaaS. The scalability of the new generation of SaaS solutions enables users to test the reliability and performance of on-demand applications in limited deployments, and expand their adoption incrementally."

...etc.. but I didn't recognise that as a language with which I am familiar. A colleague says it is some form of 'marketingspeak', a language I am not conversant in.

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144058)

The article acknowledged that this was merely the reincarnation of old-style Application Service Providers

Even though they mention ASP (probably to get their buzzword quota), the "concept" has nothing to do with ASP. Back when VAN companies charged your company money to move EDI data, they were providing a third party service. What the article is saying is that a service like this would be "special" because it used (wait for it) the INTERNET!

Personally, I'm not impressed. The Internet has made communications easier/faster/smoother/etc., but do we really need a buzzword for every little thing that has been translated to... (wait for it) the INTERNET!

Maybe I should go patent this. Taking old concepts and coupling them with.... (you know the drill) the INTERNET; is sure to be a non-obvious invention! </sarcasm>

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144252)

Back when VAN companies charged your company money to move EDI data

I'm not completely clear on the concept of VAN companies. Could you explain them a bit more using an internet analogy?

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144735)

Nevermind. I think I get it.

VAN stands for Vehicular Anywhere Network. Because DARPA's Sneakernet didn't scale well for WAN configurations (offsite backups could take days and several wheelbarrows), pre-internet network developers came up with VAN. VAN's advantages were that it used the pre-existing transportation infrastructure (or 4WD vehicles when none was available), and piggy backed on the existing applicable state and federal vehicular code as a protocol. It's disadvantages were that it was difficult to route around network congestion during rush hour and the high price of gasoline.

Why isn't this information in wikipedia?

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144308)

Thats an excellent idea.
Personally, I have an idea about combining a bookstore and ...(wait for it) the INTERNET.
or taking by brother's auction buisness and putting it on.... (wait for it) the INTERNET.
Still even better yet, I think I could work something out with my cousin the mail man to transfer messages on ....(wait for it) the INTERNET

I could go on, but I catually agree with the parent, I'm just being a jerk.

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (1)

TenLow (812875) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144358)

But I thought being a jerk was what the internet was made for, not all this productive jibberish you be talkin' about. I mean really, who in their right mind would buy books off the internet? That's just silly.

Doubletalk (4, Insightful)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144291)

The article declares that ASP is totally different from SaaS and then completely fails to justify this statement.

Why can't they just say "it's the same thing, but the business climate is more ready for it now?"

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (4, Insightful)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144293)

I know you're being facetious but the statements are somewhat on-point. I'll translate and hopefully not offend anyone's intelligence by doing so.

Basically they mean to say that businesses are becoming more and more open to externalizing anything that is not the core part of the business.* So, a company selling cooking grills no longer has an employee or department who handles email. They simply contacted 'Turnkey Enterprise e-Solutions Ltd.' and had them handle everything about email for the cost of $5 per address**, per month. After all, this company is in the grill business (core competency) not in the email business. Why worry about maintaining a server, or setting up users, or doing backups, or handling spam? The executive just wants to make better grills and sell them to more people.

So, let's say something like that (email) is proposed. Let's say our grill company (GrillCo) needs about 400 email accounts. Since they are not buying email servers or hiring spam gurus, there's no large initial investment for them. They can test it out with one department (accounting) and if the ten people there like it, they can expand to doing everyone's email that way. It eliminates risk for the buyer.

Now, is this a better way to go? The truth is anyone that will provide a definitive answer either way is off their rocker. It may work for some things, it may not work for others.

But the reason things like these are discussed, and possibly becoming more and more popular, is simple; for better or for worse, cost-cutting is being highly rewarded at the executive level. If you run a publicly-traded company and do not appear to be "cost oriented" then you raise suspicions among boards, shareholders and Wall Street.^ There's a whole crop of companies whose only goal is to cut costs for their clients (for example, ICG Commerce [icgcommerce.com] ). Of course, sometimes these pressures come other sources [fastcompany.com] .

So, by performing a buzzword-ectomy on the above, we result with something like this, "It has become fashionable to look at costs above other parts of a company's overall performance. Software-as-a-Service can sometimes help cut costs, so it is being considered more widely as an option."

Unfortunately for the tech crowd, it has less to do with AJAX and new whiz-bang applications and more to do with the business side (shudder) of things.

* Whether or not this is true I don't know, but that's what they are proposing.
** I'm picking a number out of thin air.
^ I'm not saying it's good, that's just largely how it is.

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (1)

Unski (821437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144724)

So, by performing a buzzword-ectomy on the above, we result with something like this, "It has become fashionable to look at costs above other parts of a company's overall performance. Software-as-a-Service can sometimes help cut costs, so it is being considered more widely as an option."

Splendid! 'TFA' (to employ the Slashdot vernacular) fails where you succeed - in telling me what it was trying to say! But now I am confused: you say 'sometimes good' ? But this is a state new to me - it falls somewhere in the middle....don't....know'....how....to....under..st and...please..Taco! Zonk! Anyone...please : post me another Linux v Windows article......I can't live in this world of subtle greys.

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144727)

Basically they mean to say that businesses are becoming more and more open to externalizing anything that is not the core part of the business.

Part of the problem with SaaS and outsourcing generally is that "the core part of the business" has no intrinsic meaning, and soon comes to mean, "those activities that result in the greatest direct profits." On this model, "the core part of the business" is in all cases nothing more than sales and marketing--everything else is a support activity for those fundamental profit-generators.

Actually building the stuff you sell is not required, nor is having any inhouse technical expertise beyond that required to managed outsourced projects.

This trend will eventually result in incredibly shoddy products being sold by fantastically slick sales and marketing teams. Possibly this state has already been achieved in some business sectors.

That it is unsustainable is obvious to anyone who understands technology: lack of intimacy with the technology they sell is a chronic problem for modern companies, and while it works well enough for disposable consumer goods, it is in the end a prolifigately wasteful business model due to the number of inappropriate and/or inadequate systems customers wind up stuck with, and it will eventually be suplanted by a more balanced approach as this particular pendulum swings back toward the center.

Re:Oh goody! More buzzwords! (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144127)

Yea, it still sucks. The stuff they're providing as a service is mickey mouse crap that any self-respecting IT department should be able to handle, not the kind of stuff that REALLY takes serious work.

I work in a place that depends on about 5 big apps...What I'd give for some kind of liscensing that would allow us to keep current without having to pay huge migration costs. That would be software-as-a-service...This is just not powerful enough to meet our needs.

so let me get this straight.... (3, Funny)

BugDoomBug (965033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143949)

And as long as the quality and reliability of SaaS solutions continues to improve, the appeal of SaaS isn't going to go away

You mean if quality and reliability continue to improve that you appeal will continue to grow???

Why didn't someone let me in on this secret a long time ago!

Re:so let me get this straight.... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144235)

What else do you expect from a publication which has this "SPECIAL REPORT" above the actual article: "Building Good Web Buzz"?

Re:so let me get this straight.... (2, Funny)

Khammurabi (962376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144271)

You mean if quality and reliability continue to improve that [your] appeal will continue to grow???
That implies that all unappealing people produce low quality products and are highly unreliable. However, since I produce high quality products and am reliable, I must therefore be appealing.

Awesome! I AM a hunk!

Software is software, service is service (2, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143950)


Most all software EULAs say, "No Warranty" in terms of being good, doing what it says, or whatever. That is not a service, that is software, "Use at your own risk".

Service includes maintenance releases, updates, support, installation help, onsite repairs, telephone support, etc.

If I don't pay for software, odds are I can still use the software, but my service is going to be minimal at best. If I don't pay for service, it would take a real philanthropist to provide service to me.

Re:Software is software, service is service (2, Informative)

npsimons (32752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144273)


If I don't pay for service, it would take a real philanthropist to provide service to me.

And yet it happens all the time in the open source world . . .

Re:Software is software, service is service (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144333)

And yet it happens all the time in the open source world . . .

True. I thought that when I wrote it, and expected a comment like this.

I find that mailinglists and wiki's and 3rd party "support" much superior to paid for support. Call Apple, "Why is my brand new PowerBook kernel panicking when I change network locations?" Apple guy: "We have no knowledge of such an issue." Minutes later or osxforums or some other 3rd party site, the headline was "Bug and workaround in OS X version x.y regarding kernel panics when changing locations".

Looked at the article, and it said it was a bug in the Wifi driver even if you were not using the wifi driver. I was using wired ethernet.

The workaround was to leave the ethernet cable unplugged, change locations, and then plug network cable in. It was updated within a week or so from Apple.

Needless to say, I did not renew or extend my AppleCare beyond the 1 year that came with the product.

Re:Software is software, service is service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144468)

No-no-no, only giving fractions of your questionalby earned money makes you a real philanthropist (see any recent /. discussion about Bill Gates). Giving time and effort makes you a free software zealot.

Re:Software is software, service is service (1)

boto (145530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144357)


Service includes maintenance releases, updates, support, installation help, onsite repairs, telephone support, etc.

If I don't pay for software, odds are I can still use the software, but my service is going to be minimal at best.


You have just shown the point of this discussion: even if you don't see "software as a service" (and you may be correct), the point is that "what is worth paying in the software world are services, not the software itself", because reproducing software for other people has no cost, once the software is written, but the services around it (support, maintenance, etc.) are valuable and have costs.

Re:Software is software, service is service (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144480)


Again, software is a product, a service is a service.

My electricity is a service. OS X is a product.

For OS X to work properly, I need electricity. I find it affordable, reliable, and simple to use the electrical service provider in my area. Sure, I could use wind, my cats, or a gas generator, but the electric company does pretty good for me today. If I no longer want the service, they will gladly turn it off at any given time.

OS X is mine. I don't care what the EULA says, or what Apple says. Until they remove it from the CD I have next to me and take away my computer, I own it, and will use it as I like. .Mac is a service. http://www.apple.com/dotmac/ [apple.com] It does not come with OS X, if I don't want it anymore, poof, its gone.

hotmail is a service. If MS wants to charge $500/mo for it, I don't think people would use it anymore. But its entirely within MS's rights to charge or discontinue the "free" service at any time.

Eudora is a product. I can use it until I die.

Re: how I misread this [OT] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144710)

> If I don't pay for service, it would take a real philanthropist to provide service to me.

The first time I read this I had to do a doubletake because my brain parsed it as being the same root word as philanderer. What a difference, eh? :-)

What a stupid clueless article ... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143954)

"Software as a service" is almost as old as the public internet. Many banks, hospitals and government institutions have been running remotely hosted mainframe apps for over 2 decades ... it's quite proven successful business model.

Re:What a stupid clueless article ... (2, Funny)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144120)

Stop being so logical and informative in your posts. That's not what we are here for on Slashdot.

That's right (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144748)

That's right. We're here for funny posts [seenonslash.com] .

Re:What a stupid clueless article ... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144156)

That's what I thought at first, but I think they mean service as in something you rent out for private use. For example: http://www.basecamphq.com/ [basecamphq.com] , a web based project management thingy. AFAIK, you can't buy Basecamp and install your own copy. Basecamp exists solely as a service that you pay to use. The application that your bank offers is not quite the same thing because you're not using it for private purposes. You're using it to interact with the bank only.

-matthew

Re:What a stupid clueless article ... (1)

Skim123 (3322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144287)

I don't think the parent was meaning that banks, hospitals, etc. are hosting B2C applications remotely, but rather their software that they use internally is being hosted as a service by another computer elsewhere, either one they run or one run by another company.

If I'm not mistaken, my bank (Wells Fargo) has their tellers using what looks to me to be a web page in IE coming from a remote site. Similarly, I've worked for a couple of clients in the past that have provided hosted software applications for hospitals. They provide either an SSL-enabled website or a network that the hospital staff are VPNed into, and through which they interact with a website where they can manage various client aspects (activities, billing, etc.). These type of hosted applications are especially appealing for smaller clinics that can't afford an in-house IT/programming staff.

Re:What a stupid clueless article ... (1)

jthill (303417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144743)

has their tellers using what looks to me to be a web page in IE coming from a remote site
HTTP as a 3270 datastream for framebuffers; web services as CICS transactions, hidden modified fields and all; all apps and data on remote servers. It's all coming back around.
I don't think the parent was meaning that banks, hospitals, etc. are hosting B2C applications remotely, but rather their software that they use internally is being hosted as a service by another computer elsewhere, either one they run or one run by another company.
Not B2C in the traditional sense, more like B2B, where rather than pay your own IT department to host and/or deploy commodity services, outsource the whole shebang, use your PCs as 3270's, and let competition find the right price for it all. My only two questions are whether the lock-in/lock-out moles will get hold of this model and destroy it, and how they'll go about trying. Build a big noisy unutterably shoddy bandwagon would be my guess.

In a way, this is just an extension of things that have been going on for a long time anyway: for instance, lots of companies use the "temporary" agencies for a large fraction of their employees, effectively outsourcing much of HR. If the actual code were common (as the employment laws are), the analogy would be virtually exact.

Re:What a stupid clueless article ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144214)

Actually a lot older than the Internet. There were hosted applications going back to the 1960s if not eariler.

Re:What a stupid clueless article ... (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144218)

...so, what I gather here is that "[Software] Application Service Providers" are out but "Software [Application] Service Providers" are in.

Got it... I will notify Vanity Fair immediately.

Re:What a stupid clueless article ... (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144240)

An important annendum to this is that banks, hospitals and government institutions don't really 'own' this data, the customers there do.

Its older (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144378)

Back when most /.ers were diaper-fillers computation was done by mainframes. There were not many of these (More than 5, IBM) and many companies bought time from computer service centres. Some customers ran their own software (ie computer as a service), but in the commercial sector most used the service provided software (ie. software as a service).

For example a few small banks might all use the same service centre and the proved software, but just load their own data. The user model would be load disk for Bank A, run software till done; load disk for Bank B, run software till done;...

Is it me? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143963)

Is it me or is /. running more and more advertising "stories". These is not exactly "News for Nerds" Hell it is not even news! Justifacation for using CRM [businessweek.com] maybe... I hope /. got cut a nice big fat check for this drivel.

special services (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143989)

does being serviced by software always result in a happy ending?

SAP CEO's take (3, Insightful)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143995)

In an interview with CNET [com.com] , the CEO of SAP, Henning Kagermann replied to " With the success of Salesforce.com, everyone is talking about on-demand applications. Where are you on that?" by saying:

"We have not changed our strategy. We have this mixed environment and run a hybrid model. We do it for good reason. Our customers want flexibility, so, over time, they can make the decision to source us in, or upscale the functionality and integrate us into the back end.

You can do this on-demand for certain areas and certain functions, but not for everything. Everybody starts with salesforce automation because it makes sense since it's not very structured. It's simple and more office-like. But the more you come from this type (of system) to the core of CRM (customer relationship management), the more difficult it will become to do it on-demand. People don't want to share the data with others."

Software as a service is a good idea... (5, Insightful)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144000)

If you look at the fact that no code is ever flawless, and always has bugs, so there's always patches and upgrades. Most people in the regular software industry are passing off intermediate versions of flawed software as a product, and then giving the service away for free. This is just the opposite of that model and it makes more sense. Continuing to support, and making bug fixes to past versions of software is part of the service, clients have a real voice in the future of the software package by communicating what their future needs are. As they pay per period versus per version, software development companies don't have to guess anymore what their clients want to get them to "buy the new version" instead, the clients can have a real voice in what features are important to them in the future, without the need for pushing stuff off to a higher version versus an incremental update. It's a better model because instead of selling "why you have to ditch this old one and buy this new one" you are instead saying, "we have an established relationship in the past, and if you enjoy this, we can continue." Resulting in less useless bells and whistles in new versions, and more of the actual needed functionality. Instead of inventing things you dream they will want, you take care of their changing needs instead. That's why I think it's a winning model (if companies followed it correctly).

Re:Software as a service is a good idea... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144225)

It's great as long as the particular applicaiton/service works well over the internet (usually in a browser).

-matthew

Re:Software as a service is a good idea... (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144300)

Hmmm. Sounds like open source.

Re:Software as a service is a good idea... (1)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144427)

The problem is that you still cannot eliminate human factors. Humans are fickle, and may have changed their minds between telling you what they want and when your engineering team finishes the feature. Existing customers may be able to tell you clearly which bugs are important to them, but they can't necessarily tell you what new features are needed to attract new customers. There is still going to be a level of guesswork between the customer and the engineer, what changes is who (customer or marketing) looks at the crystal ball.

The "bells and whistles" may indeed be useless to an old customer who just wants a better (faster, fewer bugs) version of the one he bought, but what does a potential customer (who didn't see enough in your old feature set to put down money) want? Also, are you really sure the customer will not be stolen from you by a competitor with bells and whistles of their own, while you're fixing those old bugs?

Re:Software as a service is a good idea... (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144428)


What happens to the service and software as a service if the company goes out of business, raises the prices beyond value, or stops offering said service?

If I have an app that works with MSDOS 2.3, I'm free to install and use MSDOS 2.3 with no service or any kind of support available or necessary.

If MSDOS 2.3 were a service, and my software was incompatible with any other OS version, what would I do?

Re:Software as a service is a good idea... (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144478)

This is where I would break into the radical of saying that software companies using this model should perhaps keep a backlog of previous versions available to their customer and continue to support these for as long as possible, even if the features in one particular version have become obsolete or have been removed in subsequent versions. This would be part of that model. In an online model, you have no choice essentially but to upgrade, unless the provider runs a separate server with old versions which seems very unlikely to be expected. However, I'd think in the online model it would be less expected for apps to have a "platform" to run on, essentially. Online applications are essentially more of a risk in general, because you have to be reasonbly sure that the company will continue to operate, because there is no "hard copy" of the software at all.

A silly question (1)

btarval (874919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144524)

"... the clients can have a real voice in what features are important to them in the future ..."

Do they? One thing not mentioned in either TFA or your post is what does a customer do if the service is no longer meeting their needs? This industry has historically been about vendor tie-in. And about companies constantly ignoring what their customers want; and telling the customer what they will get once they are locked in.

The obvious example for slashdot is Microsoft; but I can think of so many others that it seems like it's the closed-source rule in this business.

It strikes me that once you've bought in to one propriatary service, it then becomes EXTREMELY expensive to switch to a competitors service. And that assumes that it's even possible at all.

So, my question to you is how easy do you think it is to switch services? I honestly don't know, as SaaS isn't my thing.

If it is indeed expensive or impossible to switch, then this strikes me as a field which is ripe for open standards. That is, empowering the customer with choices, rather than reducing that power by vendor tie-in.

Re:Software as a service has already failed (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144540)

It's been tried and failed though. Unix AIX, Tru64, IRIX, and even Solaris( a few years back) were not sold as a package but as a service. You got a piece of hardware and software upgrades and maintence for a subscription price.

And every single one of those models are being replaced by the current model of selling services and giving out software(aka linux,freebsd's,Solaris, etc)

Selling or leasing software will fail for every large business will then be 100% depenadant upon some other company to let them keep working. MSFT(IBM, Solaris were this way as well) could hold your business hostage forcing you to buy upgrades just to get your data so you can move off their software.

That's why the real leaders of the industry are selling services and giving you the software.

This press relase brought to you by Salesforce.com (5, Interesting)

XorNand (517466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144007)

This message brought to you by Salesforce.com This article reads like a press release from Salesforce.com, the biggest player in the "software as a service" marketspace. I tried Salesforce when I started my VoIP business; if they're the market leader, this industry is too immature to be taken seriously.

First off, it isn't cheap--Salesforce.com is $65 per month, per seat and it has to be paid 3 months in advance. This makes it quite a bit more expensive for small businesses than say Goldmine or ACT. Secondly, the reliability was horrible. CRM is the lifeblood of any organization. *Any* downtime results in all of your customer facing people (sales team, customer support staff, billing, etc) basically sitting around on their hands. Sales leads were lost and customers were pissed off. The worst part about it is that we couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't reboot a server, rebuild table indexes, sacrifice an intern... nothing. I wasn't told what the problem was when the system came back up, nor was I even notified *when* they came back online. And I wasn't given an apology or a service credit.

After several very public blackeyes Salesforce finally released a systems status page. In a pure act of corporate hubris they named it http://trust.salesforce.com/ [salesforce.com] . You know know something's deeply wrong when a simple status screen is given that hard of a PR spin. Sorry, but they already blew my trust. I don't care what BusinessWeek says, I wholeheartly recommend that an organization keep their key systems in-house!

Re:This press relase brought to you by Salesforce. (0, Troll)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144092)

In a pure act of corporate hubris they named it http://trust.salesforce.com/ [salesforce.com] . You know know something's deeply wrong when a simple status screen is given that hard of a PR spin.

The Trust was taken over by the Goa'uld. How did you expect them act? I mean, duh. :-P

Nice report (2, Interesting)

dereference (875531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144111)

I scanned through the trust.salesforce.com issues, and they had an "informational" note about a "service disruption" on April 3, with the root cause as: "The technical team identified a software issue as the primary cause."

Ah, the dreaded "software issue" problem. Maybe they should contact AOL; it might be related to their recent software glitch [slashdot.org] incident.

Actually (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144139)

They tried to contact AOL. The message bounced back and was rejected.

Re:This press relase brought to you by Salesforce. (1)

xenoglossy (877946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144135)

Having recently switched from a JDE Edwards CRM system to SFDC I would have to leap to the defense of salesforce. While there have been a few outages the reliability and performance of their system is much better than JDE ever provided. Not to mention the more logial interface etc etc.

Re:This press relase brought to you by Salesforce. (1)

tbone1 (309237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144269)

This message brought to you by Salesforce.com This article reads like a press release from Salesforce.com, the biggest player in the "software as a service" marketspace.

It shouldn't be surprising. Mencken talked about this phenomenon going on when he was an editor for the old Baltimore Herald ... in 1901!

Re:This press relase brought to you by Salesforce. (1)

ImaNumber (754512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144275)

That is the worst feeling, when your Service Provider is down and everyone is looking at you for solutions and you have to just sit there and wait when you want to be doing something to fix the problem.

And, of course, you still have to pay for that downtime.

Re:This press relase brought to you by Salesforce. (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144404)

Hah. When salesforce is down I reload the following pages repeatedly: http://trust.salesforce.com/ [salesforce.com] , http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] , http://www.fark.com/ [fark.com] , etc... Its fun to watch them keep tacking time on to their estimates as they completely fail to fix whatever it is that is preventing me from getting anything done. Of course, salesforce is fine right now, and I am still failing to get anything done... but at least it is my own fault this time.

Re:This press relase brought to you by Salesforce. (3, Interesting)

dskoll (99328) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144518)

We are probably going to switch away from Salesforce to an open-source package. Why?

1) The open-source tool is cheaper. MUCH cheaper, as in $0.00 vs around $12,000 per year.

2) The open-source tool is not as good as Salesforce, but it does everything we need.

3) The open-source tool runs on our internal network, so it's faster and more reliable than Salesforce.

4) Although Salesforce has a pretty decent API for developing custom apps, nothing beats having the source.

5) Our data is OUR DATA, and we don't want lock-in.

Fluff the Magic Dragon... (4, Funny)

farlane (49733) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144015)

...is apparently now writing for Business Week.

Marketing nonsense (5, Insightful)

kbolino (920292) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144036)

This is crap. It's not even well-written crap, which makes it pure bullshit. There's more nonsense "terminology" in this article than I've seen in a long time. The belief that the "legacy applications" are the reason that the dot-com boom failed is unjustified. Business don't fail because of software, good, bad, or indifferent. And they're sure as hell not going to succeed because of it, either. From the article, "Now Oracle, Microsoft (MSFT), and SAP (SAP) must respond to the SaaS movement while trying to avoid cannibalizing their existing software business in the process." This is a bald-faced attempt at spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Microsoft produces the operating system that most home/business clients use, and Oracle produces one of the most common commercial databases, both of which are staple products, and are required for this "software-as-a-service" to function. They won't be "cannibalizing their existing software business[es]" any time soon. So, I feel it is necessary to add another "myth" to this page: Myth #9: This article is a reliable source of information

Re:Marketing nonsense (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144123)

From the article, "Now Oracle, Microsoft (MSFT), and SAP (SAP) must respond to the SaaS movement while trying to avoid cannibalizing their existing software business in the process." This is a bald-faced attempt at spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Amen. Someone give the parent some Mod points.

ODF support (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144046)

If SaaS isn't a cry for open and free standards, I don't know what is....

Re:ODF support (1)

JPribe (946570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144114)

I scream, you scream, we all scream for OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE!!! ?HAPPY NOW?

Re:ODF support (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144513)

Not yet, try screaming louder.

Btw you know it's not the same thing right? You were just being sarcastic, weren't you? If not I could add a cautionary tale about a vendor lock-in of all operational data of a company I used to work for....

Vendor Lock-In in the worst way... (5, Insightful)

ImaNumber (754512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144047)

Software as a service is great if you have some way to export your data. My company has (not my choice) bought into an online ERP [plexus-online.com] system which looks good from afar, but is apparently far from good.

Now that all our data is in the system and we are running our operations off of their system we are pretty much screwed...they can jump the price at any point and we just have to pay it. The sales people lie (no surprises there) about having ways to export your data, but there aren't any really there.

Just be sure before you jump into something like this that you have a way to get your data back AND get it in writing that said tools will always remain and be current.

(and, yes, since we bought into their system they have moved to only allowing Internet Explorer....D'oh!)

Re:Vendor Lock-In in the worst way... (1)

sirinek (41507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144228)

Yeah, I know the feeling. Try getting your old data (in my case, 2000) from taxes.yahoo.com

That was the one time in the last 12 years I did not choose to use TaxCut or TurboTax and boy do I regret it.

Re:Vendor Lock-In in the worst way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144649)

I'm sure they can export your data from the backend. For a fee, that is. :-(

I used to work for a "Saas" and a few of our customers wanted custom data exports or other requests that weren't part of our normal service. Sure no problem.. pay up. And surprisingly they did fork over the cash.

Hosted Environments (1)

mycall (802802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144074)

The problem with SaaS is that a network is required. Yes, the world is ever becoming more networked, but many places and their respective software do not have reliable networking; thus, traditional applications will always remain.

Crap. (0, Troll)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144079)

>>the appeal of SaaS isn't going to go away.'"
Who is this moron talking about?
The only people this "appeals to" are companies like Microsoft because they see $$$ even at the cost of usability. The average user doesn't want it in the slightest.
I din't want to have:
a) my files on someone else's server
b) be on the internet
c) pay charges

every time I just want to use a word processor.

Dear mods: (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144379)

Dear mods: Please learn to recognize the difference between someone posting inflamatory comments solely for the purpose of causing trouble, and someone posting a generally negative but both correct and topical comment.

Although JustNiz may have grossly oversimplified the concept of SaaS, the idea still applies. Why would anyone pay over and over and over just to leave their data at the mercy of a third party?

If Blizzard goes under, your WoW character ceases to exist, tough cookies but no real loss. If Oracle Online (or whatever they decide to call their SaaS rebranding) goes under, what sane CIO/CTO wants to tell his boss "Well, our entire CRM database, including all open orders and customer billing information, will cease to exist at the end of the month, and we have no way to export it, nor any way to use it standalone even if we could. Oh, and BTW, I've decided to spend more time with my family"?

Re:Crap. (2, Insightful)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144412)

Actually, Microsoft wants it because enhancing Windows is no longer very effective at convincing people to upgrade and thereby pay them more money. If they could get their OS on a subscription model, they wouldn't have to constantly invent important new features, yet would still get a yearly fee out of you...

AYBABTU (2, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144097)

Are there any software products from major software vendors who boast EULAS which don't effectively state AYBABTU?

Re:AYBABTU (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144147)

Yes. There are the ones whose CLA's start "SOSUUTB!"

The article should have addressed this issue (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144109)

What happens to your data when your service provider goes bankrupt?

Maybe salesforce.com and their ilk have fine escrow agreements in effect but the article was incomplete for not mentioning how the problem gets handled.

Re:The article should have addressed this issue (1)

blogeasy (674237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144516)

What happens to your data when your service provider goes bankrupt? Maybe salesforce.com and their ilk have fine escrow agreements in effect but the article was incomplete for not mentioning how the problem gets handled.
This is probably one of the biggest reasons why there is not a wide scale adoption of SaaS. "Ownership of Data" is a huge issue for a lot of companies and gives them their competitive advantage. They are not likely to let someone else store all their core company data. It is actually surprising to see the success of salesforce.com. It is probably atrributable to smaller companies that can use this software for a cheaper price than installing their own and the trade-off is allowing their customer and client data to be stored on salesforce.com servers.

What is the goal? (3, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144110)

It being tax time in the US, I've had experience with an online-tax-prep service. I've also dealt with some online business-scheduling software (Fusionary IMS, similar to Basecamp [37signals.com] ). Being on Slashdot, I've taken a look at some of the Online Word Processors from a few days ago, as well. My prediction: things like online tax-prep, relationship management, or project management will prosper, while things like the online "Office App Replacements" will continue to endlessly struggle for relevance.

The office-app replacements are the proverbial "cure for which there is no disease". There is little reason that a composition program needs the network to function better, and certainly not enough reason to justify the hurdles involved in presenting these programs online. For something like tax-prep, it makes perfect sense to offer a "use" payment plan. The software is, by its nature, only ever used once a year, and the functionality needed (basic fill-in) is no real stretch for the Web. Something like customer-management is a task that is there to benefit the outside world, so having it tied into the network is an obvious choice. Something like internal project-management software depends more upon internal communication, but with the widespread connectedness of the Web, it makes sense to use the already-existing network to present the function, and get the peripheral benefit of being to check in on the road.

That said, the article read like a press release.

Re:What is the goal? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144259)

Another point about tax software- it needs to change each year, since the laws do. So if you were buying it as software, you'd need to shell out for a new copy to use, one time a year for eternity. Since you can't use the software perpetually anyway, buying it as a service makes a lot more sense.

Calling the mothership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144112)

SaaS isn't just software that phones home, it still lives at home (down in the basement).

Let's see if the outsourcers are smart this time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144126)

Somehow I think not. Unless you can outsource EVERYTHING to a common vendor, integrating the various "service providers" is a formidable task.

Once upon a time we bought an ERP system. We had the choice of buying our own server hardware and hosting it ourselves, OR we could choose the "service on demand" option. The "on-demand" option was pitched by a fanatic salesman who sent these nifty glossy brochures (via FedEx overnight/signature required, no less). Lots of cost justification charts to explain the ROI that you get by going this route; more than enough to fool the average golfer.

But in our case, it turns out that any year in which we did not fully replace the hardware, we would be better off self-hosted. And even if we upgraded everything every year, it was a break even deal for us. So every year, I get a another set of glossy brochures as the fanatic salesman tries to pitch (unsuccessfully) to the CFO and CEO. There must surely be some cost efficiency in combining a bunch of customers onto a huge box, but none of it would be coming back to us in the form of savings.

Of course we could have gone with lower-cost outsourcers, who would cheerfully save us some money and give us the exact same ERP software (with company "X" hosting the product instead of the ERP vendor). But I have to question the technical expertise of the low-cost competitors. The lower the price, the more questionable the whole proposition becomes.

The way you save money is to find an outsourcer who runs a tight ship and accepts thin margins. But how tight and how thin? In the nightmare scenario, the outsourcer goes bankrupt, access is cut off, and our confidential data ends up for sale on E-bay. What exactly is the contingency plan for that?

Re:Let's see if the outsourcers are smart this tim (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144517)

In the nightmare scenario, the outsourcer goes bankrupt, access is cut off, and our confidential data ends up for sale on E-bay. What exactly is the contingency plan for that?

It's called a Contract.

disruptive? (2, Insightful)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144129)

Software as a service takes the importance of the software release schedule out of generating revenue. Cyclical release schedules are hard on both developers and management.

Re:disruptive? (1)

nonlnear (893672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144189)

Don't forget that they are hard on consumeers too!

What about getting to the data? (1, Interesting)

airjrdn (681898) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144130)

I guess my first issue with it would be my access to the data. For instance, if I use a CRM that's in-house, I can get to the data, be it in Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, etc. I can setup mail merge documents with it, decide to ditch it for a competitors version, import it somewhere else, whatever. When the data is off-site I don't have those options.

Take Netvibes [netvibes.com] for example. I have my favorites stored there, which is great because I can access them from anywhere. However, when their site is down (and it has been time and time again), I don't have access to them. No problem I thought, I'll just export them. Exporting is mentioned in their Wiki. Unfortunately, the devs never caught wind of that requirement! If these were local, I'd have more types of access to them than simply via a webpage.

The location and security of my data are the top issues with using internet services as opposed to client-side applications.

While there are benefits, there are drawbacks too, and some of them are dealbreakers for me.

Re:What about getting to the data? (1)

jeffc128ca (449295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144207)


As a programmer who worked for a firm that was the 3rd party admin for many large companies we always defined data ownership in our contracts. We decided what data we owned (any new data we created) and what data belonged to the client company (say employee data like job title and pay level). It's important to negotiate this so that if your company does outsource like this you know the rules up front. For any non-standard reports the client wanted we would charge "out of scope" fees where we could.

Re:What about getting to the data? (1)

airjrdn (681898) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144257)

Good points, although I wasn't even delving into the ownership part of it. I was gearing my concerns more toward your last point...getting at the data.

Re:What about getting to the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144408)

Maybe it was just something my brothers used against me when they took my stuff, but they used to tell me that possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Re:What about getting to the data? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144746)

I can setup mail merge documents with it, decide to ditch it for a competitors version, import it somewhere else, whatever. When the data is off-site I don't have those options.

Then you are not the best customer for these types of systems. These services are marketed towards the company that doesn't have a tech as part of their permanent staff. They're not going to be able to export data from a MySQL database and perform a mail-merge, and are definately not going to want to swap databases for if the current one is working properly (and if it's not, they should complain to their vendor).

Business vs. Consumer (2, Interesting)

Zephyros (966835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144132)

I did some time at an application service provider a few years back. The model isn't as "failed" as they seem to imply. While it may be useful in only a particular niche, for those companies, it's a very good option. A lot of smaller companies don't have the resources to support a full-fledged IT staff or get a bunch of expensive desktops, and honestly they didn't need that much. They contracted with us, bought terminal PCs, and connected to our datacenter for their applications. This was also a good solution for slightly larger companies with multiple offices or a contingent of travelers.

Back to SaaS, though...We're in the process of implementing some new SaaS at my current company. Having done some work on it, I'm not impressed. It's clunky, slow, and difficult to navigate. It has nowhere near the performance of the current local app we use...and that's with only a handful of users on the server for testing. I don't even want to think about what it's going to be like after rollout to the rest of the company.

The other facet of SaaS is going to be companies trying to get this out to consumers. I don't see it replacing hard-copy software sales just yet. (...For which I am thankful - I'd rather have something physical for my purchase, or at least a download or something I can put on physical media. How do we know how long the service will keep going? With hard-copy at least you can reinstall and use the last good version.) First, performance and features will have to exceed current desktop software in order to convince people to give up their local versions and move to a web-based solution. Some applications will be better at this than others - it's going to take a lot of convincing to get people onto the web-based word processors, I think, while something communicative like XBox Live seems to be a natural fit. Second, we need more broadband penetration. This goes hand-in-hand with performance. People need to be able to get to their application 24/7, and that means web access everywhere, for everyone with a PC/laptop. We're not even close to that.

Market is only going to get bigger. (4, Interesting)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144143)

It makes sense for a lot of software applications to move online. For instance, I filed my taxes online using TurboTax.com today. The application was easy to use and worked just fine in Firefox. It makes sense to the companies behind these applications because instead of having to deploy multiple versions for every possible obsolete platform (from Win98 to Mac OS 9) that customers may have, they can deploy to specific browser configurations. Plus, as another poster mentioned, bug fixes are built in.

In 10 years' time, I doubt we'll use CDs or DVDs for much. I don't have a CD drive on my current laptop and I have only missed it once since my initial install -- and that was to install an older version of Quickbooks (newer versions are available for download instead of on a CD.) CD-ROM only drives are quickly becoming as obsolete as floppy drives as we move to the Internet for software, music, and movie distribution. As online storage and backup services take over, the idea of backing up to a CD-RW or DVD-RW will also become obsolete. We'll be able to "jack in" anywhere, from any PC/Mac/Internet cafe terminal, authenticate ourselves, and have instant access to all of our data. TurboTax, SalesForce.com and other services like it are just the beginning.

Useful Metrics (2, Insightful)

Carcass666 (539381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144230)

My company uses Netsuite as its accounting application. It is a web-based accounting and salesforce automatication suite that does many things well. There are some things that it does not do well, but can be worked around.

Companies like Netsuite and Salesforce may tout 99.99% uptime, but we have often run into scenarios where the service was running too slow to be unusable. Unfortunately, strictly speaking, the system was not experiencing "downtime", thus allowing the vendor to maintain their statistic, even though for us the system was as good as down.

The "lower cost of ownership" claims may not pan out over the long term. The article talks about SaaS being metered by usage levels. Netsuite charges by the named user, and I believe Salesforce still does, as well. The pricing model is similar to "normal" softawre. The TCO measurement depends largely on the size of an organziation, i.e. do they already have the pieces to implment a full-fledged CRM/SFA, (enterprise database, email and storage servers)? If you have these things in place and are used to supporting them, a traditional CRM or accounting package may cost less than an SaaS.

Other metrics that are missing are customer support response time. The unfortunate part of SaaS is that if the system goes down, everybody will call at once, and when you need the vendor the most they will be the most inaccessible. In general, though, I would love to see metrics of quality of customer support not only for SaaS but for regular vendors as well. When you deal with an SaaS, you typically don't have a VAR helping you out, it's you and the vendor directly. If their call center is understaffed or undertrained, it's painful

The article, itself, reads like a press-release and is horribly vague, especially when mentioned the "new 'Live' version of [Microsoft's] Office suite" - which does not implement Word or Excel, and treats on-demand updating of anti-viral software as SaaS. It isn't.

What we've found as a past user of Salesforce.com and current user of Netsuite is that you really need to do the upfront due-dillegence to make sure that these SaaS systems conform to your business model. Netsuite, especially, is awkward to deal with if your company provides services as opposed to sells widgets. Get a strong consultant on the front-end to make sure the product is a fit for your organization, and be prepared to do significant customization. Also, be careful to get specifics on how much it costs to import and export data to other systems. In Netsuite, for example, you have to have certain versions of their system to import/export XML records of your data (their webservice based pricing is, at the moment, still free depending on how much data you move through it). Make sure you have access to your data.

myths of the future (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144249)

I skimmed through the article, found two "myths" with the future tense modality ("will") in the titles and dropped the article as a piece of idiotic journalism.

Old people call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144312)

timesharing

At IBM we called this... (4, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144321)

At IBM we called this (with much skepticism) "Maintaining an on *grunt* going *grunt* customer *grunt* relationship".

Being able to charge a subscription fee for your software and continue to get paid, rather than have to make money by continuing to get unit sales, is the holy grail of any software company.

Microsoft tried to force all their customers to this model without a heck of a lot of success. In my opinion, it's not because they couldn't have had this model, it's just that they tried too late - and found out that once something is "good enough", people simply don't spend the money to "upgrade" to something that's the software equivalent of road bed materials: an OS exists only to permit people to run applications, and once they run, you're done buying OS's.

Frankly, I think the best thing that has happened to Microsoft upgrade sales in a couple of years has been that iTunes doesn't run on Windows 98.

-- Terry

A better model... (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144344)

...is Amazon's excellent S3 storage service. We're using it for the indi [getindi.com] downloads and it works great - they handle the big files while our Rails site serves up the site itself. Also, it's easy to automate since they've got a nice Ruby API [blogs.com] . Good times.

What about security, ownership, (ugh) IP, et al (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144457)

SaaS brings up a whole lot of serious questions.
  First: information security. The customer has a whole new group of people, the SaaS organization, with actual or potential access to the customer's data. How is the customer to evaluate the real security of the SaaS organization? What about the link between the customer and the SaaS facilities?
  Second, as the SaaS organization possesses the customer data, who is the actual owner of said data?
  Third, can the SaaS withhold the customer data in the case of a disagreement? How quick is a resolution to any disagreement? Can the customer get a satisfactory dispute resolution? What stops the SaaS provider from sitting on a customer's data until the customer buckles?
  Fourth, should the SaaS provider have a problem, can the customer data be seized and/or sold as an asset?
  Fifth, should there be mis-behavior on the part of an employee of the SaaS provider, can the customer data be seized (intentionally or incidentally on a server)? What happens if an SaaS employee sells customer data?
  Sixth, who owns any copyright/patent/trademark. Can the SaaS patent customer data or develop patents from customer data?
  These seem to be rather daunting problems. Specifying answers in contracts is good, but resolving problems through contracts are slow and expensive. The customer is in a particularly vulnerable position, while the SaaS provider is in the catbird seat.

Read article, and still with some hubris can say.. (3, Funny)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144469)

"It's a trick. Get an axe." - Ash Housewares, Army of Darkness

Fail-Fast (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144521)

The good thing about Software As Service, is that instead of spend a few million dollars and a year figuring out some very expensive proprietary system is not going to work for you, you spend a few million dollars and six months finding out the software isn't going to work for you because systems architecture and setup are out of the picture (there is still upfront work involved of course in training and customizing, if the vendor allows that...).

Thus the true innovation is that Software as Service allows you to holve wasted time on failed software rollout, and since time is money it literally pays for itself! :-)

3-Tier Architecture (2, Interesting)

SuperGhost (952604) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144586)

The problem with SaaS is that you are using virtually proprietary software. In a 3-Tier architecture you have the Data layer, Logic layer, and Presentation layer. You can access the Data Layer by numerous methods, ie. multiple applications can interface the data layer. With SaaS (from what I've seen) it is difficult or impossible to access the data layer.

I believe what's needed, and may even be a good idea for a start-up, is DaaS or Data as a Service. Your data is securely (I hope) stored and backed up through a DaaS provider. Available to you and your SaaS provider 24/7.

Feel free to email me with ideas...

software-as-a-service = World of Warcraft... (0, Offtopic)

parknert (847374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144683)

World of Warcraft!
You pay for the months your using it... Not using for a period of time, no pay. The best example there is...

i'm not sure but.. (3, Informative)

ikejam (821818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144736)

are we overlooking the main point?

Lets say my company requires a customer relationship managememtn software. Among my options would be to buy a pre-deveoped, customizable software SoftwareA for whatever amount of money.

Now the problem is I'll have to set it up, set the whole damn environment up. Servers, backups, networks, databases, user accounts, etc etc. Now i miht be able to get the guys who sell me this to set it up initially at probably a huge amount of money. Then ill have to get them to train my IT guys, who'll probably need documentation and baic training programmes, and some kind of structure ot account for employee rolloffs and new recruits etc etc..So thats a huge IT maintenance budget, with a whole lot of maintenance and training overhead.

So instead the guys who make SoftwareA says, you pay us rent, we have this SaaS version of SoftwareA. You and your team can access everything using browser over the internet. We take care of installation 9its htis side, you wont even know it) and support. Here's our site, here are your login IDs, Here's our support number. Usr access policy sould be through a easy to use GUI, or in complicated cases through a authenticated request from authorised users to support. We have guys who's expert at htis sotware and were here 24/7 coz we have lots of customer who need the same thing. Our overhead is shared, and we have a lot of advatage in terms of training and maintenance.

All you need is a reliable net connection. besides your travelling employees could access it anywhere.

Ofcourse net connection gone = boom. and its a big risk for critical software. But reliabilty of the net is increasing and this will be critical, reliabilty of the SaaS companies would hopefully improve. if you can have redundancy (dialup to their data center? local backup systems would prboably defeat the purpose :-s)

looks like it could work, esp in SMEs...
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