Tag: Microsoft

Microsoft-Intuit PaaS Marriage in the Clouds

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22nd January

This week’s announcement that Microsoft and Intuit are linking their respective Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities has attracted lots of attention and generated plenty of speculation. It is also the latest escalation of the PaaS wars I predicted would take center-stage this year.

Although Salesforce.com’s Force.com PaaS has gained the lion’s share of industry attention because of the company’s unparalleled marketing machine, I’ve felt that Intuit’s Partner Platform (IPP) represented a dark-horse in the PaaS race because of the vast installed base of small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) using Intuit’s QuickBooks and QuickBase, along with its powerful channel relationships.

I’ve also believed that Microsoft would make considerable progress in penetrating the cloud computing market this year, not because of the technical capabilities of its Azure PaaS, but because of its historical prowess in building a vast partner network of ISVs and developers.

With those thoughts in mind, here’s … Read More »

Key Competitive Battlefields in the Clouds in 2010

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3rd January

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

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27th December

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 »

How Cloud Excellence Trumps Data Center Experience

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12th October

A series of service outages over the past few days has brought into focus all the worst fears about the ‘cloud’ computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement. These incidents have also demonstrated how data center experience doesn’t necessarily translate into cloud computing excellence.

The most damaging outage affected T-Mobile users who lost their contact information in a SideKick server snafu by a Microsoft subsidiary, amazingly called “Danger”.

A severe data center outage grounded Air New Zealand last week. This time, IBM proved to be the culprit responsible for mishandling one of the airline carrier’s mainframe systems as part of a traditional-style outsourcing arrangement.

The cloud computing world wasn’t spared when one of the most promising SaaS vendors also had a system failure last week. Unlike the IBM and Microsoft outages, Workday was able to fully restore its customers’ records and salvage its customers’ satisfaction for important two reasons:

It had the … Read More »

It's a Cloud World

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16th August

A combination of work, travel and summertime distractions have prevented me from commenting on a series of small, yet significant announcements and activities over the past couple of weeks in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing market.

My latest travels started last week at Pacific Crest’s 11th Annual Technology Leadership Forum in Vail, CO, where I met with a series of the investment firm’s ‘buy-side’ clients as a part of its Mosaic program, and interacted with a variety of cloud computing executives and VCs in a SaaS workshop.

Nearly all of Pacific Crest’s clients are concerned about the financial implications of the cloud computing movement on their large-cap investments in companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP on the software side, and IBM, HP, EMC, Dell and other systems vendors on the hardware side. They are also curious about whether Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com, SuccessFactors and other upstart SaaS/cloud companies can … Read More »

Callidus Bets on the Cloud

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30th July

Making the transition to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model isn’t easy for incumbent software vendors (ISVs).

Rearchitecting their applications may be the easiest task in the transformation process. Redesigning their go-to-market strategies and ongoing operations; restructuring their revenue recognition models; and reorienting their staff are the more difficult challenges.

Greater service delivery costs combined with lower per unit prices make it is easy to see why most ISVs have tried to resist the SaaS movement and denied its long-term viability.

Yet, a severe slowdown in traditional, packaged, ‘legacy’ application sales has made it imperative for ISVs of all sizes across every segment of the software industry to finally accept SaaS as a reality they can no longer ignore and must finally embrace.

Even Microsoft, Oracle or SAP are promising ‘cloud’ solutions and cranking up their PR machines to promote their promises. But, their SaaS offerings are still primarily hosted versions … Read More »

Google and Microsoft's Duel In The Clouds

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13th July

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 »

SaaS Aimed At CFOs Gaining Momentum

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5th May

While Microsoft’s recent announcement that it had experienced its first down quarter in terms of revenues and profits generated plenty of headlines in the business press, a surge in the sales of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions aimed at chief financial officers (CFOs) deserves even greater attention.

Two SaaS announcements from NetSuite and Plex Systems clearly illustrate this trend.

NetSuite announced yesterday that its total revenue for the first quarter of 2009 was $41.6 million, a 22% increase over the first quarter of 2008. In my view, NetSuite’s success is due to a combination of factors. The company has done a better job of packaging, pricing, positioning and promoting its solution to CFOs. It has made its offering more modular, which in turn has made the pricing more attractive. It has also more effectively targetted CFOs who are at a crossroads between starter kits like QuickBooks and complex systems like … Read More »

Marketing Multi-Tenancy

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11th April

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 »

Microsoft's View About The Power of Choice

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14th March

I moderated a panel at OpSource’s SaaS Summit this week entitled “Selling SaaS to the Enterprise” which included representatives from Cast Iron Systems, Oracle and the Business Objects unit of SAP, as well as the Manager of Global Operations Business Technology at Pfizer.

They all agreed that SaaS and cloud computing are making serious inroads into the enterprise but still face significant challenges, including scalability, security and flexibility issues.

In response to the flexibility topic, there was general consensus among the panelists that customers want a choice of on-premise and on-demand alternatives to serve various corporate requirements.

Although I’m very proud to have correctly predicted many of the major trends which have shaped the SaaS market evolution, I’ve never believed that the world would move entirely to an all on-demand environment for a variety of customer and vendor-driven reasons. Therefore, I’ve always expected … Read More »

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