I'm a fan of aggregative plays for SaaS – I'd love a situation where one
single web page enabled a business to perform the vast majority of it's
processes. The reality however is somewhat different – we're not yet at a point
where application integration is that tight (although I'm not the only one thinking this way). Failing this level of aggregation the next
best thing is to ensure users can access all of their applications as quickly as
is technically possible – minimising the hoops they have to jump through before
getting to work.
This is where simple sign on comes into play – enter Phase 2.
I covered Hawaii based PHASE 2 over here about six months ago. To summarise what
bringing together disparate applications and providing them to SMEs. They
rightly recognise that a “one stop shop” approach is attractive to SMEs and to
this end have put together a broad range of offerings to fill out the
Already Phase 2 have a broad horizontal offering covering a range of
Microsoft offerings (CRM, MOSS, Project, Exchange) as well as some distinct
vertical offerings, most notably a useful bunch of tools for the architecture
Recognising the impacts on customers running multiple SaaS applications,
Phase 2 have introduced their Zero Sign
In product. Zero Sign In is an optional tool that allows for automatically
sign in to all Phase 2 applications. Sign on is controlled via a simple control box pictured below;
Multiple levels of Zero Sign In exist, the first requires customer sign in at
the beginning of the day and after 4 hours of inactivity while “Zero Sign On”
automatically signs users into all their Phase 2 hosted applications upon
starting their computer.
Obviously there are concerns around this in terms of security and the like -
and I'm not suggesting that accounting and Internet banking vendors should go
out and allow for zero sign in, however to enable the move from desktop
applications to on-demand ones – we need to ensure the application launch
process is as simple and intuitive as possible. For applications where security
isn't a major concern, Phase 2's offering is a step in this direction.