Although the fashion for putting '2.0' after everything is beginning to grate, don't let that stop you from reading this new Sandhill.com article: Get ready for SaaS 2.0. The author is Bill McNee of Saugatuck Technology, who has seized on SaaS 2.0 as a label for all the good things that the leaders in on-demand applications are doing today — and the corollary is that SaaS 1.0 becomes the dismissive term for all the things that people have done wrong in the past.
The core defining characteristic that he identifies in SaaS 2.0 is one that I've highlighted in previous postings, and also dovetails neatly with my previous post on the user experience. Here's what he says:
"Secure, flexible and efficient business processes and workflow ... SaaS 2.0 goes well beyond today's SaaS business drivers, which have focused on cost-effective software delivery. SaaS 2.0 is about helping users transform their business workflow and processes, and the way they do business."
Therefore, don't look to SaaS applications to simply replicate today's enterprise applications in a hosted format. SaaS 2.0, he says, will "provide a next-generation business management platform that competes with, and in many cases, replaces, traditional enterprise applications." This is absolutely spot on, in my view.
He goes on to outline "seven key trends and attributes of SaaS 2.0," the first of which I've quoted above. The remaining six are:
- SLAs: "SaaS 2.0 will provide a much more robust infrastructure and application platform driven by Service Level Agreements."
- Rapid achievement of business objectives. "The business results that can be achieved and 'getting the job done' are increasingly paramount."
- Value-added business services. "SaaS 2.0 will deliver a blend of business process, application functionality, and managed services at an operational level."
- Business impact via SaaS 'Network Effect'. "SaaS 2.0 deployment increases and improves choices, efficiencies, effectiveness, and business capabilities within the user enterprise, and between the enterprise and its suppliers, customers and business partners."
- Low-cost 'white-label' vertical solution stacks. "SaaS 2.0 will engender a slew of custom, vertically-oriented solutions that will be used by SMBs."
- SaaS Integration Platforms "provide application sharing, delivery and management services."
There's something else highlighted by Saugatuck's research: "Most executives substantially underestimate current SaaS deployment and usage, suggesting that [reported] penetration rates ... might be very conservative."
In other words, SaaS 2.0 will change your business — and it's already started.