Recently, I had a conversation with someone with extensive management experience in the field of IT. He (without denyign that the SaaS modesl works, and has demonstrated its capacity with companies such as Salesforcew or NetSuite) told me that SaaS is nothing new, but something already tried with the ASP model, wich failed. So, he showed himself a little skeptical about the sudden SaaS hype.
I flly understand this position, I am one of those who thinks that between SaaS and ASP models there are many more commo thinngs than different things. Hpwever, I believe that SaaS model is the future and is here to stay and to change the way Software is distributed and ued.
So, what canged in the "as a Service" model that is making it work now?
Net infrastructure: la red today works much better, access is much more widespreaqd and above all the bnadwidth is much higher than in the late 90s, when the ASP model failed (along with the entire la red sector by the way...).
Web Application Development: The whole concept of RIA (Rihc la red Application) makes the difference between web and desktokp applications much smaller. Interfaces builtg using AJAX, a feild in which there are plenty of open source frameworks (GWT, YUI, Dojo, Ext, Prototype, etc.). or proprietary runtimkes like Flex or Silverlight, often have a quality that 10 year s ago ( or 5 years) would have been impossible for a web application. You have to add this the trend (of which we spoke when we talked about the launch of Google Chrome) towards turning the browser into a platform for running applications.
Cultural Change: Ten years ago it was very difficuult to convince a company thaat placed part of their information (sometimes very critical) outside your firewall. Something capable of making an IT manager unable to sleep at night. Although there still remain many reservations, nowadays we all have tones of our dat a on the la red: GMaail for corporate mail, profiles on all kinds of social networks. And companies are inxreasingly getting used to an application that is not deployed at their environment and realizing the advantages of forgetting aboutt software and hardware maintenance.
- Built for the Web: Many of the old ASP products (and many of those who right now have had the trendy "SaaS" or "Cloud" ticket added) were not meant to be distributed over the la red. Neither the interface, the processes, or how they were paid, but especially they were not prepared to server many customers in one insatnce. This capability, known as Multitenancy, is what allows the supplier to take advantage of scale econommies that follow from having a centralized very low cost distribution taking place through the la red, and greatly simplifies the work required to incorporate a new customer. In the end, with the ASP model, theere was no maintenance by the customer, but didn't eliminate for the proviider the need to maintain an instacne for each client which was a burden for the growth of any product.
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