Key Competitive Battlefields in the Clouds in 2010
As the new year and decade get underway, here are a few of the areas of the cloud computing market which I think will be important competitive battlefields for established and emerging players:
Collaboration Wars: Collaboration is the ‘killer app’ in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) segment of the cloud computing market. The rapid adoption of Google Apps has demonstrated the latent demand for these web-based solutions. Now, IBM is promoting the enterprise-class qualities of its LotusLive offering to win a share of the market. Cisco Systems is also intensifying its efforts to promote its collaboration solutions built around WebEx and Telepresence. I also think Microsoft will accept a greater level of cannibalization of its Office products to win a bigger share of the collaboration market with OfficeLive.
Business-Oriented Social Networks: These are closely linked to collaboration and have gained a tremendous amount of attention because of the explosive growth … Read More »
A SaaS/Cloud Computing Scorecard for 2009
Since 2009 is coming to a close, I thought it would be a good time to review how I did with my predictions for the year regarding the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing market.
1. On-Demand Services Move From Why To How
According to a Sandhill.com/McKinsey survey of over 850 enterprise customers at the end of 2008, 74% were already favorably disposed to adopting SaaS platforms. As a result, Gartner estimates the SaaS market will have reached approximately $8 billion at the end of 2009, a 21.9% rise from $6.6 billion in 2008. Looks like folks have moved past “why” SaaS to “how” to get the most out of their SaaS deployments.
2. New Hybrid Models
The idea of hybrid SaaS and cloud computing models has been abhorred by industry purists, but the reality is that nearly every business will rely on a combination of on-premise and on-demand resources. In 2009, the concept of “location independence” became bi-directional. … Read More »
Daydreaming About the Cloud and Salesforce.com
As I recover from yesterday’s Thanksgiving festivities, I’ve been struck by two thoughts regarding last week’s Dreamforce conference,
Salesforce.com’s new Chatter social computing functionality may be a defensive as well as proactive move.
An acquisition of Salesforce.com by Oracle may be a friendly maneuver rather than a hostile takeover.
As I reported in my previous blogpost, Salesforce.com’s introduction of Chatter last week at Dreamforce was met with mixed reviews. Many customers, partners, analysts, press and even internal staff and salespeople were uncertain about the company’s goals and capabilities in this new area.
I believe that building an ‘enterprise-class’ social networking component makes sense and adds a timely new dimension to salesforce.com’s fundamental functionality.
Marc Benioff justified salesforce.com’s move by claiming in his keynote address at Dreamforce that neither Facebook nor Twitter were willing to fortify their services to meet the needs of enterprise users.
But, what … Read More »
Making Connections at the ConnectWise Partner Summit
I was invited to attend the fifth annual ConnectWise Partner Summit in Orlando this past week and was surprised to discover that it has become one of the premier meeting places for aspiring Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and industry enablers.
I was also impressed with the amount of attention ConnectWise’s executives, other event speakers and sponsors, and the conference attendees gave to the convergence of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), managed services and cloud computing.
ConnectWise may not be a household name in the SaaS or cloud computing markets, but it is a key player in the managed services arena. Although ConnectWise calls itself a professional services automation (PSA) provider for IT professionals, its software also helps them manage their helpdesk operations and sales processes.
ConnectWise’s solutions are typically used by IT service providers, including VARs and MSPs, and it has built its success on a highly leveraged partner strategy. Its software is … Read More »
Amazon Validates Private Clouds
One of the most controversial aspects of the rapidly evolving cloud computing market among industry insiders is the idea of ‘private clouds’.
Purists insist that cloud computing is all about exchanging legacy, on-premise, inhouse IT resources and functions with online, shared resources via the Internet (i.e., the ‘cloud’).
While this is the origin of the cloud computing concept, a variety of forces have conspired to create an alternative approach referred to as ‘private clouds’.
These include valid customer concerns regarding privacy, security, reliability and performance; along with proprietary concerns among various hardware and software vendors seeking to usurp some of the spotlight away from cloud upstarts like Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com.
In addition to the sourcing and marketing forces fueling the idea of private clouds, there are various debates regarding the technical implementation of private clouds which have raised questions about the viability of this idea.
Just as it … Read More »
Google and Microsoft's Duel In The Clouds
Much has been written regarding Google’s latest challenge to Microsoft–its announcement last week that it plans to unveil a new operating system (OS) in the second half of 2010.
There is no question that Google’s ambitious plans can have a significant impact on the computing world. And, because computing has become an integral part of everyone’s day-to-day world, the Google-Microsoft war deserves plenty of attention, even in the mainstream media and among Main Street businesses.
However, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Google would move in this direction. It has been nibbling away at the edges of Microsoft’s fortress for a number of years.
Google Desktop does a better job finding files within Micrsoft Office than Microsoft’s own software. Gmail is easier to use than Outlook. And, Google Apps have become a viable alternative to Microsoft Office within a growing number of businesses, non-profit agencies and governmental … Read More »
Is Google Gumming Up the Cloud Computing Movement?
Google’s latest service outage this past week generated a new round of attention and debate regarding the viability of the ‘cloud computing’ movement.
Although Google’s service disruption raises legitimate concerns about the reliability of today’s web-based solutions, the extent of the press coverage also demonstrated how pervasive the cloud computing movement has become.
The incident was not only reported and analyzed in the IT trade pubs, but in all the major business journals as well. This level of coverage clearly shows that SaaS and cloud computing are no longer peripheral trends, but have become popular alternatives to legacy software and traditional systems.
Another indication of this trend is the latest market forecast from Gartner, who I like to call a ‘lagging indicator’, which predicted last week that the SaaS market will equal $9.6 billion by the end of 2009, a 21.9 percent jump over 2008 revenue of $6.6 billion. Gartner forecasts that … Read More »
Phil Wainwright has posted a terrific blog entry regarding the ‘green crystals’ that power Salesforce.com’s multi-tenant platform.
The concept of multi-tenancy has been a cornerstone of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement and a key element of the rapidly evolving cloud computing environment as well.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the term ‘multi-tenancy’, it is borrowed from the housing market and aims to compare today’s leading SaaS/cloud computing vendors to condominium owners who can obtain more luxurious living quarters without the hassles of owning a single-family home by sharing a common infrastructure and operational services.
While this arrangement offers plenty of conveniences, it also requires some sacrifices when it comes to how far you can customize your particular unit, or version of software in the case of SaaS.
While the value proposition of multi-tenancy is easy to understand, it is hard to get a lot of details … Read More »
Salesforce.com Becomes First Billion Dollar SaaS Company
Salesforce.com unveiled its year-end 2008 financial results earlier this week and, as the company had predicted, it passed the billion dollar mark, reporting total revenues of $1.077 billion, an increase of 44%over the 2007.
This milestone event, combined with the company’s rising earnings per share growth, are clear indications of the overall strength of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market despite the challenges of today’s tough economy.
In fact, Marc Benioff, the company’s Chairman and CEO, is quoted in the company’s press release as saying, “At a time when capital is precious, big-ticket software purchases just don’t make sense.”
I am also a firm believer that Salesforce.com’s continued growth, and that of the overall SaaS industry, will be fueled by today’s economic crisis. IT and business decision-makers are increasingly recognizing not only the economic advantages of SaaS, but also the fact that SaaS represents a more effective method of supporting a more dispersed workforce and leveraging the latest innovations in … Read More »
Google's New Hybrid Model
I suggested in a previous blog that a new model of a ‘hybrid’ software company is emerging in which Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing vendors are offering downloadable appliances, or ‘applets’, which permit users to utilize their web-based solutions off-line or behind the firewall.
My friends at Salesforce.com and other SaaS zeolots in the industry said I was crazy. But, many SaaS other vendors told me they were already offering an appliance option to their customers.
This week Google endorsed my idea by announcing that it is offering a offline version of its Gmail service.
Some folks expected this functionality in 2007, when Google introduced Gears, its browser plug-in aimed at providing offline access to Web-hosted applications. In fact, Google has been offering an on-premise search appliance for a while.
I believe the Gmail announcement is another example of a growing array of offline enhancements being added to SaaS/cloud computing solutions that … Read More »