Musings on SAAS

We need to evolve our thinking about why and how people purchase computers and software as todays model is terribly inefficient:

  • software “as a service” (SaaS) can be a very powerful tool to emerge ecosystems in which online services are consumed rather than “downloaded, licensed components”. Driving much of this is both the cost and complexity of distribution (both buyer and seller), as well as the low utilization of the systems where the components are deployed.
  • todays software distribution model favors the largest of players which is to say the players who can afford the high cost of sales and service under the buy it, get it, install it, use it model of distribution.
  • ecosystems will evolve which take the ebay or Amazon model of marketplace aggregation to services, but with software, unlike hard goods, the qualities of service become the critical differentiators
  • we do not yet have either an appropriate meta language nor “Trader Service” (yes, from my Corba days) which might allow services to be found and effectively bound in an on-demand fashion.
  • we also lack the repository which can manage these components and their entitlements in such a fashion to enable true monetization on a “fair and equal” playing field... .typically this is provided by an open marketplace using explicit symbology.

I haven't yet talked about next generation orchestration languages that could allow “processes” to be also purchased (things that System Integrators typically look at as their critical IP - a pre-proven HIPAA or SEC process that a company could use to improve their own process compliance, but it's certainly a possibility once the component marketplace is established. In all, very exciting new world that Public Utilities enable.

Overall, it's very exciting to watch Google, MSN, Amazon and Yahoo battle in this next frontier, after all I call for a trader service, and symbology, which IMO is their strong suits. The question will be which of these companies has the right tools for the communities of developers, and can provide the “grease” to make their marketplace the most valuable and therefore attractive.

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