Software As A Service (SaaS) is the technology wherein you use
applications hosted on the Internet and accessed via a web browser.
Email host, Intermedia introduced
me to a new concept, SaaS 2.0 which is the concept of being
“integration ready,” where customers can easily integrate hosted apps
with one another and with on-premise software.
An Intermedia spokesperson told me that there are two parts to
integration, data integration, and user management. For example
Intermedia’s hosted email service, enables customers to integrate their
on-premise Active Directory with Intermedia, so that there is a single
repository across hosted and on-premise apps for user management,
security and policy management. It also means that end users only have
a single set of log on credentials to remember, rather than a unique
combo for each application.
They went on to say that the benefits of SaaS 2.0 are mostly around
simplicity. The main value prop for SaaS in the SMB market is cost
savings, but utilizing SaaS without solving the user management issue
causes complexity, and complexity means more costs. By solving the user
management / integration problem, Intermedia is eliminating a huge
layer of complexity from SaaS, thereby reducing costs, which is a huge
benefit to SMBs.
As you consider implementing software as a service in your business,
don’t just look at hosted applications as an island on their own, but
ensure the the hosted application(s) can share data with other
applications or server based software is important.
For example, there are many SaaS products and services but the REAL GEMS are those such as Box.net which are able to integrate with other services.