Sage dresses SoSaaS in cloud clothing

Taking the same old software and dumping it in the cloud doesn't make a SaaS strategy. Vendors who do this show an abject failure to understand what SaaS and cloud computing are all about.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor

The software industry's equivalent of 'mutton dressed as lamb' is a phenomenon I tagged in the early days of this blog as SoSaaS: Same old Software, as a Service (SoSaaS). This is when established software vendors "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!" They imagine they've introduced a competitive SaaS offering, but all they've really done is demonstrate their complete failure to understand what SaaS and cloud computing is all about.

Rather than fading away, this kind of self-delusion has been given a second wind by the advent of cloud computing, and is now more prevalent than ever. People seem to imagine that implementing a conventional software package on Amazon EC2 or some other cloud platform magically transforms it into a state-of-the-art SaaS stack. I'm afraid not.

Unfortunately, some vendors are so backwards in their comprehension of the SaaS model, they actually believe there's some advantage for customers in perpetuating the long-winded implementations, painful upgrade paths and orphaned customizations of conventionally licensed packaged software. Here's Sage CRM chief Joe Bergera talking up his company's announcement today that "it is piloting a cloud computing edition of the Sage SalesLogix CRM suite for commercial availability in early 2010." He enthuses:

"While first generation Software-as-a-Service generated a lot of interest, people will look back on this era as a period of big-iron, centralized operations that restrict the ability to customize the solutions ... The next wave of Cloud Computing will benefit customers by providing a highly distributed and flexible deployment model that shifts control of the service to their favor, rather than SaaS vendors, so they can better tailor their CRM experience in a way that optimally suits their business."

The press release goes on to reveal that what he is actually describing is nothing more than a "full-featured, single-tenant cloud edition of Sage SalesLogix using Amazon's EC2." Yes, this revolutionary new proposition is just a sorry pile of SoSaaS, dumped in the cloud. Go figure.

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