The cover story on the latest issue of InfoWorld has it writ large: Software as a service: The next big thing.
Two quotes I especially like in this story. First there's Patrick Grady, CEO of Rearden Commerce, telling it like it is:
"On-demand is not a hobby. If you don't have a single-instance, multitenant, on-demand, pure SOA-based platform, then it's all crap and the customer will not receive any of the advertised benefits."
And along the same lines, from John Girard, CEO of Clickability:
"We throw a party whenever an installed competitor announces a hosted offering. It validates the SaaS model and spells operational disaster for the competitor."
Finally, there's writer Eric Knorr's upbeat conclusion:
"The ultimate disruptive effect of the 'services wave' may well resemble that of the dot-com era, when companies that were smart about leveraging the Web exploited unforeseen growth opportunities. As the viral growth of Web 2.0 mash-ups and walled gardens like [salesforce.com's] AppExchange make clear, every true SaaS application is potentially part of an XML-driven ecosystem. The SMBs that figure out how to tap into the power of those ecosystems could become the enterprises of tomorrow."