Salesforce.com has suffered another service outage, but – according to Philip Wainewright – appears to have at least started to keep its users more informed.
At least the outages don’t stop people from extolling the virtues of Software as a Service (SaaS). I have just read an article, Software As A Service: Nightmare Or Dream Margins?, by Barbara Darrow on CRN, which gave a good account of how businesses are beginning the transition from being product-centric to providing SaaS, and looks at SaaS from the perspective of resellers and others.
It was striking that both Microsoft and IBM viewed the future as one in which different software models could co-exist.
Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie wrote: “We believe that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution environment—there are trade-offs in each choice. Businesses will select solution platforms based on their own mix of requirements such as mobility, cross-enterprise collaboration, structured process integration, quality of service, confidentiality, compliance, speed and, of course, cost.” A Microsoft partner said the company sees three delivery scenarios.
- The fat-client, thin-network world: where Office and Windows reign supreme, where people are not always connected via a broadband link, and where “knowledge workers” need a lot of local processing power and storage.
- The thin-client, fat-network scenario: with fast Web connections and server-based logic either in the cloud or on premises. There, browser-based software becomes the face of the application.
- And large companies that need to mix and match the two will be free to do so. Road warriors may be forced to depend on dial-up or wireless connections and so need both the rich client and the rich network at times.
Mike Rhodin at IBM Software agrees on the mixed-use worldview, segmenting the potential market into:
- the consumer-based model, where Microsoft Windows Live/Office Live would appear to fit, supported by advertising revenue and already pioneered by Google
- the more traditional “next-gen ASP” model that delivers Web-based services like Webex and Salesforce.com
- the outsourcing model where businesses may outsource a lot of infrastructure but still retain control of their intellectual property and data.