Phil Wainewright chronicles how he was lambasted for opining that software as a service (SaaS) will increasingly focus on offline access.
As he notes, however, people seemed to have come around on the idea and 2007 may be a big year for offline SaaS.
The bottom line: Offline access has to be key component of SaaS if it's every going to get widespread adoption. Remember those Salesforce.com outages at the beginning of the year?
Some of those companies had their business screech to a halt because they didn't explore the offline capabilities. While uptime is damn good with most on-demand vendors it doesn't approach 99.999%.
And if that one rough patch for your on-demand application provider comes as you're closing the fourth quarter your company is hosed. Offline access is just a little insurance.
Here's when things get tricky: When packaged software providers offer on-demand options and the on-demand folks offer offline access. There will be an inflection point where everyone will look at least somewhat SaaS-y.