Monday, April 23, 2007

SaaScon recap

What a great weekend. Finally coming back to the home base to do a belated SaaScon recap. I'll admit this is just scratching the surface, but below are some tidbits:

  • Jim Steele, President of Salesforce, talked about’s IdeaExchange, which I had never heard of before and was really impressed by. IdeaExchange is Salesforce’s community driven product feedback and development site that leverages a Digg-like voting system. Users are able to post feedback on Salesforce products, and other users can then vote on that feedback to push it to the front of the queue. Salesforce launched the IdeaExchange website in October 2006.

  • SuccessFactors indicated that they will be figuring out a way to package and sell their customer’s metadata. I was definitely excited to hear this. Ironically, in a previous post “Future of SaaS: don’t forget the data!”, I commented on how interesting SuccessFactors’ metadata would be if it was readily available. Sounds like soon we’ll be able to take a look. (For more on this topic, check out David Anderson’s blog post, “The SaaS Goldmine in Supply Chain Software.” Turns out Taleo is already doing this.)

  • Probably the most thought provoking presentation of the day was by Jeffrey Nick, SVP and CTO of EMC. In his presentation, The Next Inflection Point for SaaS, he described his theory of a future world in which application architecture is transformed from tightly-coupled coding (the application with the data) to instead a loosely-coupled composition. Thanks to web services and SOA architecture, this will enable a world in which companies can more effectively achieve their Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) goals. If you’re interested in learning more, email me or comment on this post and I can send you his presentation.

  • A metric quoted a few times during the day: According to Gartner, by 2011, 25% of new business software purchases will be SaaS.

  • SaaS is often thought of as of something only sold to SMBs. However, on demand companies such as Workday plan to take advantage of legacy software maintenance renewals to go into mid-tier and Fortune 500 companies and bring their new solution, with a subscription fee that costs as much as the maintenance stream the company had been paying.

  • That SaaS leverages consumer internet concepts to produce innovative business web solutions was a theme that came up repeatedly. A few fun facts that you may already know:
    • Steve Lucas, VP On Demand Software and Services for Business Objects, admitted that his inspiration behind BO’s on demand initiative was Flickr
    • Marc Benioff of Salesforce has been very influenced by Consumer Internet.
      • Salesforce’s AppSpace moniker has MySpace to thank.
      • Apparently, Benioff wanted to call AppExchange “iExchange” (influence here is iTunes). Guess he lost that fight. But no wonder AppExchange’s web page has a huge banner proudly screaming Forbes’ quote describing AppExchange as “The iTunes of Business Software.”