Tuesday, 27 March 2007

SaaS, Say it Five Times Fast

Well, it was bound to happen...and it has. There have been grumblings in the SaaS community to find a new, or at least an agreed upon, moniker for SaaS. SaaS has been/is referred to as Software as a Service, Applications On Demand, On Demand and so on, and so on.

Phil Wainewright has recently blogged on this topic and references the new term webware that was coined by Rafe Needleman at CNET (i'm sure not coincidently named after his blog). And it appears to have the support of some other bright minds in the SaaS world.

To some extent all of these guys are right. There are entirely too many monikers being floated and SaaS probably doesn't give this sea changing technology justice. But, they are also missing a very important point.

In my humble opinion what the industry needs to solve more than anything else is the lack of both consensus and compliance. Let's call them the current yellow and red cards of our industry.

Without consensus the companies and individuals that are driving this emerging space are not doing the space any favors. Imagine being a new adopter and trying to fight your way through the tide of monikers you get thrown your way. There is absolutely no way for the larger portion of the buying community to adequately differentiate these terms, what each mean and/or that each one means the same thing! (yellow card)

Without compliance it gets even worse. The industry is currently at an inflection point that reminds me of the late 90's in the .com era. Every new company knows that the best way to get funding and get eyeballs on their business is too tag themselves as a SaaS company or a company that services the SaaS industry. I just finished doing some initial due-diligence for a VC on a new 'SaaS' company....and let me tell you. Nothing, absolutely nothing, this company does has anything to do with SaaS. But they'll more than likely hoodwink the investment community, probably receive some funding and tag themselves as a SaaS provider. Throwing more confusion into the buying market and investment community (red card, out of the game).

So, from the bottom of my heart. Let's pick one monkier that we can all agree on, start to call out the non-SaaS companies that claim to be SaaS companies and MOVE FORWARD.

And let's also make sure that whatever moniker we pick we can say it, 'five times fast'.

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