Offering A Hybrid SaaS Model To Give Customers Choice
One of the topics which leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors and industry analysts are most vehement about is that software vendors cannot survive and succeed supporting a ‘hybrid’ model.
This issue arises every time an incumbent software vendor–my definition of a “ISV”–rolls out a SaaS solution while also trying to sustain its legacy, on-premise application. There are plenty of impediments to success in this balancing act across the entire lifecycle of a product extending from software development and delivery to sales and support. These technological and organizational challenges are major obstacles to success for ISVs trying to keep pace with the SaaS movement.
However, despite growing interest and adoption of SaaS as well as other ‘cloud’ computing alternatives among organizations of all sizes, many IT and business decision-makers continue to feel that they must make an ‘either/or’ judgement when it comes to on-premise … Read More »
Messaging and Security Continue To Drive On-Demand Services
Although the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business applications and cloud computing development environments are getting the lion’s share of the attention in the press today, the most prevalent form of on-demand services continues to be hosted email and security services.
Email and security management are escalating challenges for IT and business decision-makers facing greater demands for real-time communications from their end-users, coupled with growing concerns about viruses, hackers, compliance and litigation.
As a result, an increasing proportion of companies and non-profit institutions are choosing to ‘out-task’ their email and security management to third-party hosting companies and managed service providers (MSPs).
However, enterprises and on-demand service providers alike are also recognizing that email, security, storage, archival, e-discovery, business continuity and disaster recovery are all intertwined. Therefore, IT/business decision-makers are seeking providers who can service as a strategic source for these services and providers are seeking to … Read More »
Cloudonomics and Calculating the Risk and Return of SaaS
The recent debate about the viability and value of cloud computing has generated at least one outstanding analysis from a friend at AT&T, that’s right AT&T!
Joe Weinman is the VP of Strategic Solutions Sales at AT&T Global Business Services. He published a terrific blog entry last week on GigaOM which was also distributed by BusinessWeek entitled, “The 10 Laws on Cloudonomics”.
I met Joe at a utility computing conference in NYC in 2004 where we both listened to a series of CIOs discuss how they were transforming their IT operations to achieve their business objectives.
What was facinating about their presentations was that they were not talking about hardware-based utility computing models that many vendors at the time, such as IBM and HP, were pushing. Instead, the CIOs from a number of major corporations and public agencies talked about how they were … Read More »
Customer Support Becomes Key Concern in Cloud Computing
The recent service outages experienced by Amazon and Google have raised additional concerns about the reliability of these services in particular, and the concept of ‘cloud computing’ and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in general.
In my last blog entry, I suggested that the term ‘cloud computing’ may be gaining widespread acceptance but could also be preventing many mainstream business decision-makers from getting their heads around the idea of utilizing web-based services to meet their corporate needs.
The faceless personas of Amazon and Google’s cloud computing services doesn’t help the situation. While traditional telephone support services have left a lot to be desired, they at least give customers a opportunity to seek help from a real person.
Neither Google or Amazon offer this form of customer support for their cloud computing services. Given the modest price for their cloud computing services, it is easy to understand … Read More »
Can Dell Redefine Services?
Since Michael Dell returned to the helm of his company, he has been dramatically reshaping its channel and services strategies. He is also putting the IT industry on notice that the way hardware companies define and deliver services is changing.
The old guard of the IT industry recognized in the 1980s and 1990s that tech support, professional services and outsourcing could generate lucrative revenues and create greater lock-in opportunities in an increasingly commoditized hardware business. Lou Gerstner saved IBM by turning it into a services company.
Dell bucked this trend by investing in sophisticated supply-chain, fulfillment and customer service processes which enabled it to succeed as a low-cost, high-margin manufacturer.
HP stole a page from Dell’s book and usurped its price advantage. Without a strong services story to serve as a safety-net, Dell was vulnerable to customer defections. It is now seeking to … Read More »
Game-Changing At Google
Google made two announcements this week which received limited attention because they had been anticipated for some time. Nonetheless, these two new offerings will still have an impact on the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and managed services markets.
Google’s first announcement unveiled a series of security “products” based on the email message filtering, encryption and archiving capabilities Google acquired when it purchased Postini. Although Google refers to these offerings as products, they are being sold on a subscription service direct to customers or via channel partners who can package these capabilities into managed services.
Google’s objective when it acquired Postini was to fortify its messaging and archival capabilities so it could appeal to a broader cross-section of business customers, especially large-scale, publicly traded enterprises who are facing stricter compliance requirements. Google’s new Message Filtering, Security and Discovery offerings provide a solid, yet simple and … Read More »
The On-Demand Services Implications of a Microsoft-Yahoo Merger
Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Yahoo has gained plenty of attention because of its blockbuster pricetag and obvious attempt to blunt Google’s success in the online search advertising business.
However, I think the acquisition also has significant implications for the future of on-demand services. Yahoo’s popular portal will certainly be a great new channel to market for Microsoft’s on-demand games and Zune entertainment initiatives.
I’ve also been saying for the past two years that Yahoo and other major online outlets will become the new channels to market for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions and managed services. This is because many corporate customers are gaining confidence in SaaS and managed services as a viable alternative to traditional on-premise products result of their overall comfort with consumer-oriented on-demand services like Amazon, eBay, YouTube and iTunes. This consumer to corporate buyer crossover makes Yahoo an appealling outlet for … Read More »
Salesforce.com rolled out its Force.com Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) enablement platform last week after plenty of fanfare at its Dreamforce conference in September. The launch of the platform has sparked a new round of debates regarding the merits of Salesforce.com’s application development toolkit and its service delivery capabilities.
I’ve said many times in this blog and elsewhere, there is no more important or innovative player in the SaaS market than Salesforce.com. Every SaaS user and SaaS provider owes a debt of gratitude to Marc Benioff and Salesforce.com for pioneering the on-demand software services market and setting the standard for enterprise-class SaaS solutions.
While some elements in Salesforce.com’s strategies and solutions can be criticized as self-serving or ineffective, the company’s overall impact on the growth of the SaaS market cannot be denied.
Salesforce.com has set the bar for designing simple yet effective web-based business applications. It … Read More »
Top Ten Reasons Why On-Demand Services Will Soar in 2008
Since the holidays are traditionally a time for people to take stock of the year past and offer their new year forecasts, here are my top ten predictions why the shift from packaged products to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), utility computing and managed services will accelerate in 2008:
1. Services are Recession Proof: Escalating oil prices, the uncertain political landscape and faltering financial institutions beset with the aftereffects of the sub-prime lending debacle could mean a tough year for the economy. In this tenuous climate, consumer and executive confidence could decline, leading to an economic slowdown. As a result, many companies could hold back on their capital investments to mitigate their risks. The ability to adopt on-demand services on a pay-as-you-go basis will be a perfect sourcing strategy for businesses seeking greater cost-controls and flexibility.
2. … Read More »
Business Continuity and Compliance Drive Recent Acquisitions
IBM’s acquisition of Arsenal Digital Solutions is the latest transaction driven by the growing concern among businesses of all sizes that they have to do more to protect their electronic files in order to safeguard against natural disasters and satisfy escalating regulations.
What makes this trend even more interesting is that it has brought greater attention to the fundamental advantages of using a “hosted”, managed service to respond to these business concerns. This has made a widening array of storage, e-discovery and other managed service providers (MSPs) very attractive acquisition targets for an expanding assortment of potential buyers.
Here are a few of the acquisitions which preceeded IBM’s announcement,
Seagate $185 million purchase of EVault
EMC’s $76 million acquisition of Berkeley Data Systems Inc.’s Mozy storage service
Autonomy’s $375 million acquisition of email archiving service provider Zantaz Inc.
A series of acquisitions by Iron Mountain, including … Read More »