Feeds

Salesforce.com's new application shop

Software as a service

Boost IT visibility and business value

These days, even Bill Gates is bandying around the term 'software as a service'. But what does it mean?

The point of offering software as a service (SaaS) is that it allows companies to avoid deploying and managing those applications within their corporate networks. This means that they do not have to purchase and manage any hardware or software for disseminating use of those applications to end users. Instead, they purchase the right to use a particular application via web-based services as they need it – or, on demand.

According to those offering SaaS, this provides better value for customers than the traditional model of paying for software licences, installing the software and managing the application and associated upgrades themselves.

One of the main proponents behind the SaaS movement is Salesforce.com. Salesforce was founded some five years ago with the intention of developing a platform on which applications could be built, with a web-based interface so that companies can purchase the rights to use those applications as they need them. The first application that it built was CRM – and it now claims to have a market share of around 50 per cent of the on-demand market for CRM applications.

Since it delivered its first application, Salesforce.com has been hard at work developing further services for customers. These include a platform for easing integration with back-end technology used in companies and a toolkit for expanding and customising software. At the same time it has built out an ecosystem of partners to help companies with implementation and further development of applications.

Most recently, Salesforce.com has added a service that takes it closer to executing on the vision it has always espoused – its AppExchange offering. This is a web-based portal giving companies access to a range of applications for on-demand use, ranging from financial and administrative applications, to applications focused on specific industries.

According to Salesforce.com, the reasoning behind this is that the internet provides a more dynamic environment for accessing services than traditional means of distributing software.

Chris Boorman, VP of marketing in EMEA, explains the concept with reference to the online retailer Amazon.com. He highlights that when Amazon was founded, it primarily offered books for sale; but it fundamentally changed the way that people browse for books. In a high-street bookstore, people will spend time looking at a range of books, but the books that they are able to look through depends on the amount of time that they have available and their willingness to spend time going through all the different departments.

At its online store, Amazon provides customers with the ability to search for books by title, author, or keyword and to compare books related to a particular topic in which they are interested. And Amazon's service can also recommend products to customers based on their buying history, search preferences or personal profile that they build.

It is this same sort of idea that Salesforce.com has built with its AppExchange offering. Compared to a traditional high-street computing store, customers can more easily see a wide range of competing products and can read reviews from other users, as well as checking how other users rate the product in terms of a score out of five. This is a bonus for companies that do not wish IT budgets and resources to be tied up installing and managing software – especially those applications that are only used by a few people in the company.

Only launched this month, time will tell as to how great the take up will be. But Salesforce.com is betting that this will be a hit with customers and, never one to hide its lights under a bushel, is adopting the slogan "success on demand".

Copyright © 2005, IT-Analysis.com

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.