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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

More about Ben here.

9 responses to “SaaS and Traditional Software Vendors”

  1. David Turner

    This is the latest of a whole raft of blogs, twitters and general chatter about how existing software developers couldn’t possibly leap the chasm from ‘traditional software’ to SaaS which is so innovative and different.

    Come on guys. Do you really think that the big software companies of today have not had to cope with radical technology changes before? CODA has been around for 30 years – we started developing accounting systems on the HP3000 (remember those? probably not…); then developed another accounting system from scratch for the Digital VAX; then again for the AS/400; then again for open, client/server platforms; and yet again for the zero client web browser technology.

    Each of those steps required a radical change for us – new hardware, software tools, programing languages, approaches to development, testing, benchmarking, selling, supporting, marketing etc etc…

    We aren’t alone. SAP, Microsoft, Oracle have all been around for many years and have survived and thrived as technology and business paradigms (aargh… that overused word!) have changed…

    Just because a couple of ISVs have had hiccups in entering the SaaS world, don’t write off the whole established software industry. We aren’t stupid and we aren’t novices. There’s a lot to be said for experience, as my old grandad used to say!

  2. Ben Kepes

    @DT Well at least I’m happy to know that I’m in good company ;-)

  3. Gary Turner

    There’s an innate characteristic of the technology industry upon which it has propellled itself down the years; improvement.

    This quest for improvement exists, primarily, to serve the needs of the intended user of the tool or product who, presumably, has a business, process or need for improvment in some way.

    However, a natural consequence of this endeavour to bring improvement is that some of it gets reflected back into the industry, most commonly witnessed when a once new and groundbreaking product is rendered redundant by its successor.

    This in turn provides vendors with great scope for competition and differentiation; these being the key principles of selling. And it’s easy to get excited by differentiation in a world which has become, frankly, quite vanilla in the last ten years.

    But as David says, this isn’t some new dynamic that will render every technology business that’s been trading for more than five years obsolete. It IS the software business.

    I think, however, there is an interesting new dimension around this current phase of technological evolution, and that’s the amplification of the discussion about it on the web.

    Past technology paradigms and evolutionary steps like the mini computer, client/server, the IBM PC, low cost networing etc. never had the benefit of the web doing its PR. SaaS does.

    Passion and enthusiasm for our products/service/companies is great. And some arrogance, ambition and determination are mandatory for success.

  4. Ben Kepes

    Gary – I appreciate your comments – cheers

  5. Gary Turner

    My previous comment got clipped…

    …But sometimes I sense an unhealthy dogma when I read and hear about some of the coverage and opinions in support of SaaS.

  6. Ben Kepes

    Gary – I’d like to think it’s passion and not dogma. Having been personally exposed to dogma on a number of different levels I’d hate to think I was blindly going down that road.

    FWIW – Coda is an example of a traditional vendor doing an excellent job of moving with the times. It’s much less a technological issue than a cultural one. It seems to be from my perspective that the bigger the vendor, the harder it is to shift….

  7. Gary Turner

    Maybe dogma’s too strong. And as David says, isn’t CODA just doing what software companies have always done?

  8. Gary Turner

    Ben, forgive me if I didn’t make it clear; I just found your blog today following David’s tweet; my comments are not based upon any exposure to your views at all. Just seemed like an appropriate place to deposit my thoughts.

    Perhaps dogma is too strong, but I generally sense something in the same department in _some_ of the SaaS back and forth out there – a one single future/paradigm to the exclusion of all others kinda thing.

  9. Cloud computing and boring innovation | Irregular Enterprise | ZDNet.com

    [..] Last Friday,Ben Kepes at CloudAve got a something of a kickingfrom Dave Turner of CODA [Disclosure: CODA is a current client and is building financial apps on the Force.com platform] and Microsoft’s Gary Turner. [I've known Gary more years than both of us would likely admit but Microsoft is not a current client.] Ben takes the religious high road for cloud computing, having a general swipe at the (un-named) incumbent vendors. [..]