One of the most vexing questions in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market, and broader on-demand services industry, is what role traditional channel companies will play in this brave, new world.
While Salesforce.com and other SaaS vendors are touting the enormous advantages of leveraging the ‘cloud’, there are still plenty of companies on Main Street who are just beginning to become familiar with today’s online services. Many of these small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs), and even large-scale enterprises, have relied on their local value-added reseller (VAR) and system integrator (SI) as not only their primary technology supplier but also their ‘trusted advisor’ for their technologies strategies.
These VARs and SIs have been uncertain about the impact of SaaS solutions and on-demand services on their businesses. In fact, many feel down right threatened by these services.
There is no question that SaaS solutions and on-demand services … Read More »
Despite the economy, election and lingering questions about whether Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is enterprise-ready, this week’s Salesforce.com Dreamforce conference drew nearly ten thousand energnetic attendees and exhibitors to celebrate the power of the ‘cloud’.
The event not only dispelled any questions about whether the SaaS movement can withstand today’s economy, it also helped to resolve the needless debate over whether there is a difference between SaaS and cloud computing.
Salesforce.com succeeded in dissolving any line of demarcation which may have existed between the SaaS and cloud computing worlds by:
Using the terms interchangeably throughout its keynote and breakout sessions
Unveiling a new round of cloud-based applications and platform capabilities
Expanding its strategic alliances to include two more pivotal ‘cloud’ players
Salesforce.com’s two most significant announcements were its move into website hosting services, and new alliances with Amazon and Facebook.
The website hosting services add another layer to … Read More »
One of the myths about the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market which has continuously frustrated me is the misconception that this movement is best suited for the ‘simple’ needs of small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and not robust enough to satisfy the complex requirements of large-scale enterprises.
While SaaS certainly levels the playing field for SMBs, I’ve written, consulted and spoken extensively about the widespread interest and adoption of SaaS which THINKstrategies has seen over the past 3-4 years. Despite my efforts, many of the industry analyst firms and trade publications are still debating whether enterprises should consider and deploy SaaS.
This week, GE lent its name to the SaaS movement by announcing that it has deployed an on-demand Supplier Information Management (SIM) provided by Aravo Solutions, Inc. GE’s deployment of Aravo SIM(TM) was driven by its need to transform its supplier information management … Read More »
One of the primary concerns of IT and business decision-makers regarding Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications is security.
Although most SaaS vendors have been able to demonstrate that their cloud-based applications are secure from an operational point-of-view, there are still access control issues which enterprises need to address to ensure their corporate data is fully secure from an end-user perspective.
It is becoming particularly important to address these issues because SaaS applications are gaining popularity in today’s increasingly challenging economic climate.
The economy is also producing a new round of layoffs which means businesses need to be especially vigilant about how they manage user access to their SaaS applications to be sure laid off employees do not inadvertently or intentionally compromise sensitive or proprietary corporate data.
I’ve had the privilege of participating in two recent webcasts regarding these issues hosted by OutProtect and Symplified. These companies, … Read More »
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 »
Once again Gartner has demonstrated why it is viewed as a lagging indicator of meaningful market trends. Check out a new article in CIO Magazine entitled, “Gartner: Four Disruptions That Will Transform the Software Industry.”
In this article, Gartner analyst Yvonne Genovese identifies the following “disruptive” software industry trends that will take shape by 2010-2015,
Rise in New Technologies and Convergence of Existing Technologies
Change in Software User and Support Demographics
Revolutionary Changes in Software and How it is Consumed
Software Market Moves to Megavendors Supporting Large Ecosystems
To call any of these trends potentially disruptive in 2010 or 2015 is to ignore the significant impact each of them is already having on the software industry today.
Web mash-ups became the play things of the Facebook crowd over a year ago and are already being used by a wide array of companies of all sizes today.
That same … Read More »
If 2008 is remembered as the year that a new generation of on-demand services, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing, gained widespread acceptance and accelerated adoption, then I think 2009 will be the time when winning channel partners will become more critical to the on-demand service providers.
Until now, SaaS and cloud computing vendors have been focusing on building reliable and scalable service solutions and demonstrating the viability of their on-demand alternatives to customers.
Now, that they have generally achieved this objective, their next challenge is to build an effective indirect go-to-market strategy and set of strong channel relationships, so they can rapidly and profitably extend their market reach and satisfy the needs of specific market segments.
The need to build a successful channel strategy has become even more essential as a result of the current economic crisis which is placing greater financial … Read More »
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 »
I’ve been saying for months that the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement will gain momentum as the threat of a recession intensifies.
Now that the prospect of a recession has turned into a full-fledged financial crisis and escalating fuel costs are fanning the flames further, the economic justification for adopting SaaS has become even clearer to a broader cross-section of business decision-makers.
The latest reinforcement of this point came yesterday from one of the most visible personalities in the business press today–Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money”.
Love him or hate him, Cramer has become one of the most influential stock market commentators in the U.S., if not worldwide. And while many can criticize his ability to pick stocks or ridicule his crazy antics, Cramer does deserve credit for helping to educate people on Main Street about the nuances of Wall Street. And … Read More »
Sometimes, even a free trial isn’t good enough to convince potential customers to buy a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution.
A case in point is LucidEra’s on-demand business intelligence (BI) solution. Even though the company is undoubtedly the thought-leader in this segment of the SaaS market and has experienced some success selling its solutions, the company has discovered that it takes more than the standard ‘try and buy’ sales approach to get customers to take advantage of its capabilities.
This is because LucidEra is aiming its on-demand BI solution at small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs), as well as those large-scale enterprises, which have not deployed BI products in the past because of their costs and complexities. Therefore, these prospective customers have little experience using a BI solution and need some hand-holding to fully understand how to utilize even a relatively easy solution like LucidEra’s.
To … Read More »