SoSaaS: Same old Software, as a Service

SoSaaS: Same old Software, as a Service

Summary: I've always been wary of the term software-as-a-service, not only because SaaS is such an ugly acronym, but also because it conveys completely the wrong message. It gives the impression that all you need to do is take any old software package, run it up on a server in a data center, do a bit of financial engineering so customers can pay on a monthly plan, and hey presto!

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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I've always been wary of the term software-as-a-service, not only because SaaS is such an ugly acronym, but also because it conveys completely the wrong message. It gives the impression that all you need to do is take any old software package, run it up on a server in a data center, do a bit of financial engineering so customers can pay on a monthly plan, and hey presto! you've got an on-demand application. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I think it's time to coin a new acronym that nails that model much more accurately: Same old Software, as a Service. This makes it easy to identify on-demand applications that are not worthy of the name— they're just SoSaaS.

Conventional application software simply isn't built for the on-demand model. It doesn't have the same economies of scale, agility and extensibility, and its implementation-centric architecture makes it incapable of delivering equivalent business value — as I'll be demonstrating in the coming months in this blog. Any vendor that takes their existing software and simply delivers it as an online service just doesn't get it— and their on-demand offering will inevitably be much slower, less flexible and more expensive than rivals that have rearchitected their applications afresh for the on-demand model.

Knowing this makes it very easy to detect whether a vendor's on-demand offering has any validity. Simply listen to what their executives say. Here's Bruce Cleveland, Siebel's new senior vice president of products, who also oversees Siebel's OnDemand hosted CRM offerings, talking a few days ago about "supplying our products in an on-demand form factor" (huh?):

"... the fact of the matter is that this is all software and it's only the deployment options and financial vehicles that are used to deliver them that have changed."

Oh dear. Sounds like a severe case of SoSaaS to me.

Topic: Tech Industry

Phil Wainewright

About Phil Wainewright

Since 1998, Phil Wainewright has been a thought leader in cloud computing as a blogger, analyst and consultant.

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5 comments
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  • Software as a service == please pay us forever.

    Nobody really needs software as a service. We used to do that everywhere. That's the way it was back in the "bad old days", when IBM owned everything and you only rented it. That was before the PC revolution gave birth to the distributed computing, client-server, and peer-to-peer architectures. These models brought the power of computers to the end-users, giving birth to entire industry.

    Software as a service is technologically unsound, as wide area networks are often congested and poor performance results. Sometimes the network is down and productivity comes to a crashing halt. Furthermore, it removes your data from your control and gives it to another entity - one which is out of your control. Why would any company want to do that?

    The network is NOT the computer, the computer is. We need to do business even when the network is down.

    Frankly, it is obvious to me that this so-called "new" SAAS model is just a return to an earlier failed model of computing, conceived of by greedy software producers as another way to wring more money out of an already over-priced product.

    Regards,
    Jon
    JonathonDoe
  • Take out an S, an A, and an O and you've got it.

    A perfect description of people who sucker themselves into this legal thievery.

    Just think "Software Assurance" and then wonder why it's been MORE THAN DOUBLE the time passed since MS released a "new" OS or office suite? Because they found a shiny new way to rob you blind... until the feds decide it's a no-no, but unlike their past innovative attempts to screw you, this time they've got a government system that just doesn't care about the things that DO count in the very type of economy they think is best worldwide. (but is the worst worldwide for reasons pertaining to ethics, morals, and souls...)
    HypnoToad
  • Make sure the software is next-generation, multi-tenant architecture

    This is absolutely right ? when old-style enterprise software is repackaged with ?hosting services? and touted as ?Software as a Service,? the software?s bloated costs for implementation, operations and upgrades don?t go away, they are simply shifted to the software provider and hidden in a monthly fee.

    Software buyers who select an old-style software hosted and repackaged as ?Software as a Service? will be in for a rude awakening when implementations still take forever, their vendor provides ever-decreasing support for their unique installation, and they are strait-jacketed into the current version for years because upgrades are costly and painful.

    However, next-generation net-native software, designed from the ground up to be true ?Software as a Service,? radically changes the ownership experience for customers ? continual free upgrades that deliver ongoing innovation with no hidden technology costs. True SaaS is designed to be multi-tenant and single-platform, so each customer bears a small portion of the cost to operate the complete system, and the software vendor's efforts are applied to providing more functionality and value, not supporting each customer's unique implementation.

    As the blog says, software vendors that simply repackage existing software will deliver ?slower, less flexible, and more expensive? offerings to customers than true next-generation Software as a Service offerings.
    John F. Martin
  • Message has been deleted.

    umakanta1984
  • RE: SoSaaS: Same old Software, as a Service

    Well! So what is the actual SaaS if it is not SOSaaS?
    Arun (sreearun)