I’m always looking for interesting tales that show the backroom moves of incumbent players manoeuvring into SaaS plays. My team of intel gatherers have picked up an interesting story along these lines.
Late last year Michael Jackson, the ex-chairman of Sage, tried to buy UK SaaS accounting player KashFlow for £2.3m. At the time KashFlow founder Duane Jackson justified his decision not to sell by saying that;
The timing just isn’t right. I think a large part of our success is the ability to move very quickly and make decisions in minutes without having to resort to decision by committee. I felt that being part of an AIM-listed company would mean we lose that edge
they will re-focus of the Group on Software as a Service and significant cost reduction program implemented [and are] intending to sell all its non-software as a service (SaaS) businesses
Translation – the person who for two decades chaired one of the largest accounting software companies in the world is now focussing purely on SaaS delivery. As it happened and, I assume, as a result of the poor economic situation, Jackson was unable to sell all of his non-SaaS divisions however they’re focussing their strategies clearly on SaaS.
It’s an interesting situation when the incumbent ISVs themselves seem to have difficulty moving to a SaaS model (witness the offerings thus far from intuit, Sage and MYOB) yet here we have someone with a careers worth of experience in software realising that the future is very much SaaS – that’s a real vote of confidence.