Sunday, April 22, 2007

SaaS Signal or Noise??

Few days ago,i was reading interview with Ray Ozzie(Microsoft's Chief Software Architect) and he talked about Microsoft's future in the increasingly webified world.He talked at length about Software as a service(SaaS) and how Microsoft prepared to the new challenges.These days much talk is going on SaaS,especially after Google rolled out it's Docs&Spreadsheets and soonly going to add presentation software service also.Symantec also announced that they are testing free online backup service.Adobe considering to rollout online photoshop version soonly.There are already hundreds of Firefox add-ons available today,which are marking rapidly evolving SaaS.Adobe's Flash media player is also a kind of SaaS and Microsoft expected to field it's own version Silverlight soonly in the market.It all signals that we are heading firmly towards Network computing and browsers,devices going to play a big role in the coming days.In one of my previous post also i mentioned about Network Computing.

Ray Ozzie tells some intersting views about SaaS in his interview and i recommend my blog visitors to read full version.Ray Ozzie's comment about SaaS goes like this.

"So the way I view it is, first generation "software as a service" really just meant browser. Second generation means weave together hardware, software and services to accomplish a specific solution.The iPod is a great example of that. You have hardware, the embedded software on the device and an associated [online] service. Does that mean all solutions have to involve hardware and software services? No. There are going to be many things that are perfectly good to deliver in a browser. There are also going to be many software [applications] that are standalone, which will have only a little piece up on the service. But I think it benefits the customer to think of it holistically".

I feel most of the consumer software will migrate to browser but i am skeptic whether same thing can happen in enterprise market as stripped down browser versions may not produce the same results as featureful desktop versions.Another thing is that SaaS becomes meaningless when you go off line.So customers need to evaluate carefully what value they are getting rather than going by hype.Most of the SaaS market targeted at SME(Small and Medium Enterprises) business segment.Currently only17% of world population uses internet and the numbers expected to grow.No. of PCs also need to grow and recently Microsoft announced that they would provide $3 software in developing countries for those who can not afford.I don't know why $3,they can give older versions of Windows for free like Linux.It all seems like we are entering new era where users no longer charged for Software and collaborative work environment demands going to drive SaaS further.

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