There continue to be profound polarities of thinking in the market regarding the eventual impact of software-as-a-service. Many subscribe to the notion of that SaaS will never be ready-for-prime-time in the Global 1000 world, that its impact will be relegated to the SMB market. Others view its dominion as a fait accompli. And then there are the myriad in-between permutations of those two schools of thought.
Having embraced the concept of ASPs and application hosting in the mid 90s, I find myself lining up solidly with those supporting the eventual pervasiveness of the delivery model. In a world where maintaining any kind of competitive parity requires core competences in adaptability and flexibility, the idea that a plurality of enterprise applications will need to be customized to fit business processes that are believed to be unique is just a bit provincial for my taste.
A traditional argument against SaaS making inroads into large enterprises has been the reluctance of the Big 3 enterprise application providers -- Microsoft, SAP and Oracle -- to cannibalize their traditional license fee business. But, at the end of the day, the savings that can be realized utilizing SaaS and other utility models by even the largest enterprises will be too compelling for vendors to ignore.
As an example, EMC is stepping forward to target larger enterprises with a SaaS platform called EMC Fortress
While I believe utility models possess an air of inevitability -- the case “for” is far more compelling than the case “against” -- I am not quite ready to extrapolate their impact to the extent that Nicholas Carr does in his new book.
But give me some time and I will probably come around.