Data as a Service
By David Dorf on Jul 12, 2009
Software as a Service, or SaaS for short, get's lots of attention. I've even discussed it here on this blog in the past (Retail in the Clouds and To Host or Not to Host). And why not? Its an interesting topic. But I want to point out there's another side to story, and I think its value may be even greater. Data as a Service (DaaS) is not a new concept, just a new label. Companies have been buying data for years -- the internet just makes delivery of that data more timely.
In the retail industry I can think of a few obvious examples. Retailers often buy tax rules from companies like ADP/Taxware and Vertex (two active partipants of ARTS). These are updated often, so monthly feeds are necessary. Retailers, especially grocers, often buy consumer market research from companies like Neilsen and IRI. This data is used to determine product roles within category management.
Consumers have been benefiting from DaaS as well. Shopping sites like Shopzilla, price comparison sites like BizRate, and coupon collectors like MyGroceryDeals have pulled data from various sources, sliced and diced, then provide the data as useful information. Sometimes the consumer pays for this directly, but often its the retailer and/or manufacturer. This field is getting more exciting as data becomes more accessible via mobile devices.
The third area of DaaS is data integration and enrichment in the cloud. For example, companies like StrikeIron upload your data, enrich it with external data, and deliver it back over the internet. They are ofloading the data managment concerns of the enterprise. Companies like Kognitio are even providing data warehousing priced by the amount of analytics run. (I'd still be nervous about outsourcing my companies most valuable asset, but then I'm risk adverse in this area.)
So next time someone starts talking about SaaS, ask about its older brother DaaS.