With over 14 years of technology experience, 2 1/2 with Sage...I have never been asked the same question so frequently...."So when is Sage going to seriously enter the CRM SaaS market?". With 3 award winning solutions..ACT!, SageCRM and SalesLogix, one would think it would be a "no brainer"....ahhh, not so fast. The Sage culture is one of safe, controlled and profitable growth and there are just too many "moving parts" to enter the SaaS market without a sound business model. Here are a few things to think about:
* Low initial Cost: Cash is king.
* Little or no setup:SaaS is web based therefore all you need to do is create a username/password for a new user.
* No specialized hardware: SaaS saves on the heavy cost of developing a network infrastructure.
* OS agnostic operating systems:Doesn't discriminate
* Great option for small business market: SOHO and virtual companies are a perfect fit.
* Setup time - non-factor
"Or Not to SaaS..."
* Speed: Internet based applications are slow. Many technologies such as AJAX and caching have helped increase performance, but other limitations, such as security, will always put SaaS behind on-premise software.
* User adoption: Most on premise software allows you to customize, integrate into other systems
* Integration/interoperability: On-premise software allows users to work with desktop applications and link to just about anything: accounting, shipping, contracts, quoting, and other software without heavy limitations or running security risks.
* Security: You do not own/control your data when it sits on someone else's server
* Tenancy: Single tenancy
* TCO: No one can prove that TCO is better in a SaaS environment. In today's cost conscience environment, this doesn't play out well
* Accessibility: can only access your data when you have access to the web unlike the benefits of a disconnected client of on-premise software
The market is dynamic and rapidly changing. There are only a few clear growth sectors in the software industry and CRM is one of them, but is SaaS truly the answer? Are there other alternatives? What about HaaS (hardware as a service)? Let me close this line of thinking by saying with confidence.."Sage has some fantastic ideas on the near to immediate horizon. Solutios that won't leave a client questioning whether they should or shouldn't migrate to the cloud but ones that provide the best options for clients, whether it's in the cloud or on-premise. Lots of exciting announcements coming from Sage in early Fall 2009!