Thursday, August 14, 2008

Scott Sehlhorst on SaaS

On his Tyner Blain blog, Scott Sehlhorst has a richly informative entry on software as a service (SaaS). What makes his treatment of the topic noteworthy is his focus on practical customer benefit rather than on the hype that typically surrounds SaaS.

Based on Scott's entry, here is how I boil down the problems with licensed software that SaaS solves for customers:
  1. Deployment time and expense. When a new version of the software comes out, it can take considerable time and money to roll the software out, especially in an enterprise environment. With SaaS, upgrades require little or no deployment time or expense for the customer.
  2. Administration time and expense. Typically, when software is installed at an enterprise site, administrators monitor and manage the installation to ensure it is functioning properly. With SaaS, the provider handles site administration.
  3. Lack of accessibility. If the software is installed locally on individual computers, and a customer needs to use software when she is traveling, she must bring a computer with the software installed or rely on installation on other computers. With SaaS, the service is available remotely via the web or another mechanism.
There are other subtle benefits to SaaS. Yet perhaps I've also omitted some major ones?

UPDATE: Paul Young has some additional thoughts.


Scott Sehlhorst said...

Roger, thanks very much for the shout-out! And great summary. One thing about accessibility - in some ways, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul. You trade the need to access a computer with the software locally installed for the need to have access to the SaaS server (remotely). You need an internet connection. This is changing in interesting ways, between Google Gears, Adobe Flex, and other approaches to allow for disconnected use of traditionally always-connected applications.

Dugg said...

We have found that our large customers are switching to our SaaS applications to avoid specific certifications such as PCI/DSS, GLB, HIPAA and others that can require thousands of hours and millions of dollars to bring their own application environments up to snuff.