Interesting article about Software As a Service (SaaS) by by Cliff Reeves (Microsoft Emerging Business Team): The end of the beginning: SaaS starts walking upright.
Don't you just love it when another hype cycle settles down? Is SaaS evolving from pure web-based access to client-server? Is it evolving from purely hosted environments to include enterprise server deployments? Will we finally stop hearing: * "we are implementing everything on the web with thin clients. No desktop deployments!" * "It's all On Demand, baby, no servers required!" It appears so, and the evolution appears inevitable, driven by three forces: 1. Revenue, because users matter, and browser access penalizes power users 2. Lower training costs and higher adoption rates when using familar tools 3. Legacy Integration and customization
Interesting post. I don't fully agree with everything though. But mainly because of a different focus. 24SevenOffice do not focus on the enterprise market.
Cliff says that SaaS providers Salesforce.com and Siebel offers client software in addition to the web access. We have 24SevenSync which is a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook which lets users synchronize data between 24SevenOffice and Outlook.
He states that browsers don't offer the same user experience as local software. Im not going discuss further on that but I would like say that we have solved a lot issues with user interface and speed. See my article about our CRM module. We use the Ajax technique extensively.
I agree with his point on using familiar tools. That is why we have designed 24SevenOffice to appear as a Windows application and not as a normal webpage.