It seems a little late in the game for me to be asking a question like “What is SaaS?” But, I’ve always harbored a few embarrassing little secrets on the subject and I think it’s time I came clean.
There is a classic Harvard Business School case study called Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt that is familiar to every MBA student since the 60′s–the moral of which is not to define your business too narrowly lest you become obsolete. Well I don’t think software is going away any time soon and neither is service, but what about software-as-a-service? Between the rise of the cloud and the fall of the browser, SaaS seems so passe’.
What is SaaS?
Is SaaS software delivered as a service? As in renting, not owning the software. Or, is SaaS a service layered over software? As in a complete solution, not a tool. SaaS is both.
Software delivered as a service means on-demand. It means eliminating the feed and caring of the software itself through automation. Notice that I say eliminating, not obscuring or outsourcing. Automated deployment. Automated maintenance. The software simply arrives and runs as needed in a fashion that is all but invisible to the customer, so the customer realizes the benefit of the service without incurring the headaches of managing the technology.
Service layered over software means the software solves a problem without creating new problems of its own. Not only is the customer freed from managing the technology, but the customer is freed from understanding the technology. A service doesn’t require the customer to master a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo in order to use it.
One of my embarrassing little SaaS secrets is that I’ve always Read more »