SAAS: Channel Friend or Foe?

Gartner predicts that the market could be tough going for solution providers.

The software-as-a-service model is likely to be tough terrain for solution providers to navigate, according to Gartner.

At the market research companys IT ChannelVision event in Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 20-24, Ben Pring, research vice president of IT services, said, "The underlying principals of what is going on in the software market are not favorable for the channel."

The model is about making things simple, losing the management pain and headaches that technology can bring, he said.

"It is in this pain that suppliers make their money. The dysfunction of technology is a channel opportunity," he added.

While he admitted that SAAS does not solve all technology problems, he said it is likely to dilute some of the channel opportunity in the software market.

"It is a tricky issue for solution providers; there is no easy answer," he said. "Vendors and the channel are caught in a dilemma. They are all trying to be positive about it, but at the end of the day they would all rather it went away."

However, he said there are underlying opportunities for the channel in SAAS, too.

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