While I was traveling through Europe for our CRM Acceleration events over the past several months, some interesting things were happening on the SaaS/Cloud front back here in the U.S.
Both Intuit and Sage Software saw serious outages and down times for their SaaS versions of their CRM and ERP product lines. That is some scary stuff, as these were not the small blips of a few minutes here and there that we have seen from some SaaS providers in the past – but rather major down times where users were locked out of their systems.
Some journalists and analysts are using these outages to point to a potential for users to revert back to more traditional on-premise application solutions.
I think, really, the answer is somewhere in between. The current (and for the foreseeable future) state of mobile applications and how they interact with the cloud proves, in my mind, that we are in the midst of an evolution – and there is no set answer in sight.
The open cloud can drive a lot of things. The least of which, is the fact that universal outages can become a thing of the past. By having multiple instances of applications manages in public, private and vendor clouds – a lot of the outage issues become moot. Nice.
But, the open cloud enables us to also leverage more open standards and web services to power some really cool stuff: social CRM that actually includes customer data and involvement and not simple collaboration tools stuck inside the firewall; mobile apps that take the best of rich internet applications and the best of resident applications to deliver robust data and awesome user experiences; and finally for the more complex applications deployments – control and flexibility that we have yet to see in any of the old SaaS models.
Many small business will benefit from the simple fact that open cloud applications are more secure and offer greater availability. But the control factor – from both a data, customization and sheer ownership of the project perspective – is resonating with every developer and developer-minded IT decision maker in businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Again, the open cloud is an evolution is cloud computing. It is not fundamentally different than SaaS – just better in a lot of ways thanks to years of watching, learning and bridging the gaps.