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Timothy Post

You sure it wasn't Firefox 2.0 which now has a built-in spell checker?

JeffL

In fact, it was Firefox. I jut tried LinkedIn with IE7, and there no red lines.

scrollinondubs

David,
SaaS rules. I wrote some thoughts about this phenomenon you describe of being uniquely able to "have your ear to the rail" and propagate enhancements to all customers in near realtime after reading Clayton Christiensen's "Innovator's Solution." It's like his example of the situational vs. attribute-based assessment and being able to alter the flavor of the milkshake or the form factor of its container while it's in your customer's hand. That post is here if you're interested -> http://www.scrollinondubs.com/?p=35

The one problem with SaaS is that certain situations and applications must be run inhouse for privacy and connectivity issues. We just launched a new technology called "JumpBox" last week that meshes the benefits of SaaS and onsite deployment. Check it out on JumpBox.com - I think you would be interested in this concept of "onsite SaaS."

Sean

Jason M. Lemkin

Good piece. The beneficiaries of SaaS are clearly the customers who get more upgrades, more collaboration, and less friction.

Not so much the providers, perhaps, with SaaS per se. "The enterprise software sales model is a challenge. Once you've met your numbers in any given quarter, it is off to the races selling for the next quarter." I think it's just the same at Salesforce, WebEx, RightNow, Successfactors, and all the rest, if you sell SaaS beyond VSB (very small businesses). Especially if you are public.

If you are totally VSB focused with instant conversion (TypePad and PayCycle), and there's no real sales cycle, then sure the model is different. But perhaps not so much b/c it's SaaS per se, more because you acquiring VSBs via an internet lead-to-close sales process.

Nari Kannan

Here are some practical issues with SaaS: It does not work for all applications; in fact most applications. The ones you see as successes; Sales Force, RightNow, Webex all have some characteristics that point to why they are successful and why other applications will not be as SaaS services: Their degree of independence from other applications within the company - like accounting, CRM, Mfg, Warehousing, etc. Sales Force Automation or hosting a web conference is fairly independent of other applications and so work easily. Handling customer calls as in RightNow is also a good SaaS application. For small and medium sized companies that do not want to deal with ANY application it will work well. Others will have a mish-mash of some inhouse applications and some hosted. It will be royal mess!

How do I know? I was the CTO of three small companies that tried to use SaaS applications as much as possible- works for some, does not work for many.

As for the revenue models also, iam not so convinced. You should sell a whole lot of $50 a month per person deals to make up what it costs to develop and maintain these applications, especially in the U.S.

Let's wait for the verdict to be in! I don't think it is in yet, sadly. SaaS is very convenient and useful as a model. Question is whether it actually works for companies?

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GHD Iron

Good stuff as per usual, thanks. I do hope this kind of thing gets more exposure.

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