What the Establishment Is Saying About SAAS

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-10-28 Print this article Print

Thanks to the pervasiveness of broadband, increasing storage capacity, and improvement in networking software and hardware, software as a service is becoming a strategically important alternative in the enterprise, particularly during the current U.S. economic downturn. As SAAS grows into a major marketing, sales and administration tool for enterprise business, it is gathering "establishment" client/server enemies as it disrupts IT system after IT system.

Software as a service has many variations and aliases, which include the terms cloud computing, on-demand applications, grid computing and others.

The idea of subscribing to SAAS for business goes way back to the big-hunk mainframe computers of the 1970s, which companies such as IBM and Amdahl built and subdivided for those services. Later, in the late 1990s, companies that provided services via the Internet or through private networks were called application service providers, which became the forerunner of today's SAAS.

Thanks largely to the availability of broadband I/O bandwidth, increasing storage capacity and improvement in networking software and hardware, SAAS is becoming an increasingly important alternative in the enterprise, especially during the current U.S. economic downturn.

Web-based startup companies that cannot afford to build their own IT infrastructures simply do not have to; they can lease all the bandwidth they need, use open-source software for the application and build on architectural templates in the SAAS cloud without having to put up a lot of capital to do it.

As a result, SAAS continues to grow, slowly but surely, into a major marketing, sales and administration tool for enterprise business.

And, as with any disruptive new technology that threatens the business of established older technologies, negative talk-most often during vendor sales-pitch sessions-invariably materializes, catching the attention of potential customers that might be in the market.

We thought we'd bring some of these conversations into the forefront, so that potential SAAS customers might be prepared for them.

Our main source for this story is Service-now.com CEO Fred Luddy, who has been in the tech/software industry for more than 30 years, starting with the Amdahl mainframe company in the mid-'70s. He started the company after spending 13 years as CTO of Peregrine and Remedy. His marketing director, Matt French, contributed.

Service-now.com, in business since 2005 and claiming several hundred paying customers, provides an ITIL management service suite on demand for a wide range of sectors, including financial services, telcos, transportation, hosted service providers, the media and government agencies. Services include incident/problem/change management, service cataloguing, and knowledge management.

eWEEK asked Luddy and French if they would care to discuss and/or debunk some of these myths about SAAS. What follows are their responses.


Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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