I have been for years and remain steadfastly convinced that software as a service (SaaS) and cloud-based solutions can be powerful contributors to competitive agility for a growing range of businesses. But there are a lot of so-called "SaaS solutions" out there that are neither.
Real SaaS and cloud-based solutions are built on modern Internet/Web services technologies, and are not just old applications with new, Web-based, "lipstick-on-a-pig" interfaces. Real SaaS and cloud-based solutions support rapid, easy configuration and customization, for users and providers, as dictated by their respective business needs and goals. And perhaps most important, real SaaS and cloud-based solutions demonstrably, measurably improves business performance and responsiveness and user satisfaction while reducing costs for all concerned.
Some of the Vendors that Get It:
Salesforce.com -- for the vision, the persistence, the philanthropy, the first-major-mover advantage, the partner ecosystem, the platform-as-a-service stuff, and all the other stuff they have gotten and are getting right better and/or sooner than almost any other SaaS vendor.
ServiceNow -- for delivering on the promise of SaaS-enabled IT infrastructure management, helping companies focus even more resources on their core businesses and less on managing those IT infrastructures. AND for delivering a robust, flexible platform that enables businesspeople to create modern, useful custom applications and services within and beyond IT, with IT's full blessing and support. (Full disclosure: I was employed at ServiceNow for 2.5 years, so I may be a bit biased.) :-)
Companies such as Fruition Partners, Cloud Sherpas, Astadia and Intréis -- for understanding the value of services that help companies unlock and realize the business value of SaaS/on-demand solutions such as those from Salesforce.com and ServnceNow.
Agiloft (formerly EnterpriseWizard) -- for having sufficient vision, tenacity and focus on what really matters to business users to build a platform that really does enable rapid creation and deployment of custom-tailored, process-driven, easy-to-use applications.
Companies such as Akamai, Amazon Web Services, Dimension Data and Savvis -- for understanding that as SaaS grows, the need to enable SaaS provider infrastructures that are reliable, robust, and scalable becomes greater, in importance and market potential for them, their SaaS provider clients and partners, and the user companies they serve.
For more of my opinions and recommendations regarding SaaS, cloud computing and enterprise transformation, check out some of my posts at the ServiceNow Community Web site -- it's free, and you don't have to register to read my stuff. and feel free to write me at email@example.com with your suggestions and questions, or to schedule an initial, no-cost e-mail or telephone conversation about your specific SaaS-related challenges, whether you're buying or selling SaaS or cloud-based solutions!