Matt Asay had a really great post on his blog about SaaS yesterday.
I am really, really glad people are starting to understand how SaaS should be positioned – the real benefits rather than an over-marketed hyped up concept of “multi-tenancy” which really does nothing for the user but limit their options and the performance of their CRM.
Matt sums it up nicely here:
Even with open data policies, once you leave the service, you leave it. Or, rather, it leaves you. You don’t have the software anymore so your data is largely worthless unless you can find another service to import it. You’re beholden to the whims of the vendor even more so than in an on-premise software deployment world. Once you jack in it’s very hard to get out.
And of course there are more limitations and issues…but the main point is – how comfortable can you be knowing that however hard you try – you simply “can’t take it with you.”
I’ll admit I was a bit ignorant of SugarCRM’s take on SaaS when I first started working here. I simply took it for another multi-tenant clone. But SugarCRM’s multi-instance CRM is much, much more than that, in ways that benefit the user and not just the vendor.
Being able to simply “package up” your SaaS deployment and bring it on site is an invaluable Ace up your sleeve when you are in charge of a CRM deployment. Multi-Instance On-Demand form SugarCRM makes this a simple, painless procedure.
Also, a more compartmentalized SaaS infrastructure (while still cutting needless costs) eliminates universal downtimes that multi-tenant CRM products still experience.
I think a lot of awareness and progress has been made in understanding that open source components, grid and virtualization, and other tech advancements have allowed providers to do SaaS in a more effective manner, that benefits the vendor, sure, but more importantly gives users more freedom and control over their SaaS deployments.