FUD is a sceptics term to describe the cynical creation of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (hence FUD) to make a simple issue look more cloudy than it is. Alas there is much FUS present around the SaaS industry. Fellow author Krish has highlighted one example, namely the Microsoft S+S strategy.
I’ve recently had a few people comment to me that SaaS is no more than ASP by a different name – ASP being the somewhat discredited approach of serving traditional desktop software over an internet connection. Much of this particular example of FUD is, unsurprisingly, created by ASP vendors keen to bask in some of the currently available SaaS glory.
Over on the NewtworkApps site I came across an article, and subsequent discussion around an article in which HP claims some of its software is now available as SaaS. This generated heated replies by the purists, asking simply;
Will someone from HP please explain to the rest of the world what you mean when you say you have SaaS? Subscription licensing or the same old legacy software served up via an ASP model is not SaaS. Please don’t point to your marketing materials as they are the source of the confusion
Call me naive but the difference in my mind at least is simple. ASP is all about delivering the same old chunky applications via the web. Sure it gains some advantages over traditional desktop software (portability, accessibility and some version control benefits) but it’s still delivering up chunky software. I came across this diagram (cant recall where I first saw it sorry) that clearly shows where AP lies in the technology continuum, sure it’s an improvement on the old methods, but similarly it’s a step back, and a whole different kettle of fish, from true SaaS.
As Rhett Glauser posted over here;
why doesn’t HP just call it what it is (ASP) instead of calling it SaaS? Because the ASP model already failed once and the differences between true SaaS and broken ASP are significant. Not just in terms of obscure features / functionality, but more importantly, in terms of real benefit to the end user.
True SaaS is all about building and delivering apps that are designed from the round up for web delivery. It leverages all the recent technologies to give a rich internet experience while still remaining lightweight on the client side.
From the same post Rhett has a nice customer results focussed checklist for vendor’s claiming their product is “SaaS’”;
- How is your ‘SaaS’ offering more cost effective than a traditional, on-premise installation of the application?
- How quickly can you set up a proof of concept?
- Can you show me a live demo now?
- How is the application administered and who is involved?
- How do I change or customize the application?
- How is the application upgraded, how long will it take to upgrade, and who pays for the upgrade?
- How often will the application be upgraded?
- How can I integrate your ‘SaaS’ product with other applications?
- Can I speak with one of your ‘SaaS’ customers?
So let’s quit with the FUD. ASP is widely held to be a failed model, rehashing ASP offerings and relabeling them as SaaS just isn’t accurate.