Sunday, May 12, 2013

SaaS - Opportunity and Problem

Software as a Service or SaaS is on the Radar of Gartner, Forrester and almost every eMag out there.  Its a huge wave and many are riding it or trying to.  The poor consumer, so much to choose from and with many little but the feature list to compare.  Several shrink wrapped software vendors are now offering SaaS versions, but their DNA is showing as the SaaS versions are often crippled subclasses of their real heart and soul product the shrink wrapped version.

*aaS - Its hard to keep up, and the lines are blurred between all the different "____ as a Service" acronyms. Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a mixed up mess.  To some it means you can develop and deploy your software using their tools.  To others is means you can deploy your application developed with your own tools and still others it means something else entirely.  The problem is that now there are SaaS applications developed on a PaaS or deployed by a PaaS, and the consumer may not know and with so many trying to catch the wave, how can the consumer choose and what if the vendor goes under.  That fear is real and it is justified.

So how can a consumer choose when the big names seem to offer better security, but even big names with lots of hype can go under.  Some will remember Coghead, the darling of 5gl and an early PaaS, it failed and not only did the consumers get burned but many partners that had invested their own money in applications on the platform, get burned as well.

IMHO, Open Source is the solution to the problem.  With Open Source if the vendor you choose to host it and support it goes under your code won't stop working and your data is portable.  With Open Source you can customize to meet your needs if it doesn't quite fit.  With Open Source you will probably find the subscription cost will be lower than the big names.  Lastly with Open Source there are many more developers working on bug fixes and new features than almost any of the proprietary systems, and you will automatically get new updates painlessly when on SaaS.

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