SaaScon Becoming Barometer for Broader Industry
In his latest entry on ComputerWorld’s SaaS Revolution blog, Eric Norlin shows how the evolution of SaaScon reflects the maturation process of the broader SaaS marketplace. I think his commentary is right on.
When we launched the conference a year and a half ago, SaaS was still an embryonic market opportunity. Although Salesforce.com had proven its viability as a business, and there was a proliferation of start-ups and established players entering the market, it was still unclear how far the SaaS movement would evolve. It was also a movement of greater interest to the market participants than to potential customers. As a result, a large proportion of the attendees at our first SaaScon event were vendor representatives trying to get a handle on the business opportunity.
Our second SaaScon produced a broader assortment of speakers from a wider variety of vendors, but still lacked the number of customers who hoped. Despite numerous industry surveys, like those produced by THINKstrategies in conjunction with Cutter Consortium, indicating that user adoption of SaaS was growing, user interest in tradeshows on the topic was still limited.
Early registration numbers for this year’s SaaScon clearly indicate that customers are now very interested in attending a conference to better understand the business implications of SaaS and learn more about industry best practices.
As an advisor to the ComputerWorld team organizing this year’s event as well as a speaker, I’ve been able to see very impressive statistics regarding the number of IT and business decision-makers from enterprise organizations who have already registered for SaaScon. And, this is with the agenda still incomplete and conference promotional campaigns yet to be initiated.
But, you don’t have to be a SaaScon insider to see the difference in this year’s event. Just look at the titles of many of the keynote speakers in this year’s agenda who are senior executives of major corporations that are using SaaS, rather than the corporate executives of SaaS companies who spoke at our previous events.
You can find the ten reasons why I think the SaaS market will soar in 2008 in my previous blog entry. My views were recently echoed by my friend and colleague, Phil Wainewright, in his ZDnet blog.
As Eric Norlin suggested in his blog, this year’s SaaScon is already shaping up to be an important milestone in the evolution of the overall SaaS movement.