Poll: Webware, SaaS or what?

Some of us have had enough of the term SaaS. Would webware be any better? Or should we stick with on-demand. Vote in our poll today.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, some of us have had enough of the term SaaS — it's inaccurate, misleading and harks back to the past instead of looking forward to the future. My colleagues in the Enterprise Irregulars network took up the discussion over the Easter weekend, kicked off by Jason Corsello stating "SaaS and 'web 20' ... I think we all agree we hate these terms" and wondering whether my borrowed suggestion of webware might have legs as an alternative generic term for the new generation of services and applications that live on (or owe their existence to) the Web.

Personally, I've been warming to the idea of using 'webware', for two reasons in particular:

  • It explicitly cordons off the wider sense of SaaS that extends to include what I call SoSaaS — unreconstructed conventional applications that sit uncomfortably on the Internet, hosted in a data center but otherwise largely unchanged from their on-premises equivalents. To qualify as 'webware' applications must self-evidently be native to the Web. That doesn't necessarily mean they have to live in a browser, as I discussed in my recent posting about AppStream. But they must be delivered and managed from the Web and require regular connection to the Web to be complete.
  • It opens the concept out beyond software. One of the most game-changing facets of putting applications on the Web is that they no longer have to be limited to software alone. They can also include access to live humans, professional services, telephony and a multitude of other resources. Of course there's software involved — that's implicit, the Web is a software environment — but the end result of combining all these other services is what's interesting and revolutionary.

Maybe, as David Tebbut hinted yesterday when he posted some thoughts on What's in a name? (webware), it is a waste of breath discussing this at all. Some of the Irregulars certainly think so. But I go back to Paul McNamara's sentiment that "Words matter". So I'd like to put this suggested term to the test and see what the readers of ZDNet think. Are you as tired as I am with the term SaaS? Should we adopt webware instead? Or is it still best to talk in terms of on-demand?

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