Wednesday, March 22, 2006

SaaS- SF.com

Niel Robertson writes:

"In the last few weeks, Salesforce.com has made two pretty subtle but important announcements. First, they announced the concept of Salesforce.com sandboxes. A sandbox is essentially a copy of your production data which can be used for development and testing. As SF pushes AppExchange and users start to experiment with integrating 3rd party components, there is clearly a need to be able to "play around" in a development sandbox before releasing integration or application changes straight to production. Also, as SF.com applications become more complex and critical, you can imagine a testing phase similar to UAT (user acceptance testing) becoming part of the standard SF.com development cycle. All of this I find very ironic, as one of the key benefits of SF.com is that it does not have a development cycle and multiple environments. This is one of the curses of the packaged application infrastructure, where an implementation is not just production but development, testing, and in many other cases 1 or 2 more systems (e.g. DMO in PeopleSoft or Pristine in JDE). Any features must be systematically moved from DEV to TST to PROD in a labrious release process.

The second, more recent announcement is that SF.com (and SugarCRM) now are part of the Eclipse IDE movement. This means you can get SF.com plug-ins for Eclipse and develop composite SF.com apps in the same way you would develop other applications. So, whether we like it or not, the VP of Sales is no longer becoming your key SF.com developer, its headed back to the IT department. "

{emphasis is added}

IMHO: I had covered SaaS earlier, here. In my opinion, although SaaS is gaining, and will continue to gain, momentum it will be more due to the alternate pricing mechanism, rather than due to quicker development cycles or reduced complexity or higher efficiency. I see a convergence back towards the packaged application way of development, but the pricing and the pay-for-use model will make it an enticing option in the future.


3 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Berkowitz said...

Yes I do believe this! Things are not as black and white as you think. With On Demand solutions, users with NO programming skills whatsoever can make changes to the database, screens/forms, reports, processes, etc. I'm NOT saying that programmers are never needed, it's just that with many of the On Demand solutions users can do more "configuration" on their own. In addition, these customizations ARE maintained within the user company's database so that they ARE NOT impacted by vendor updates to their software. As far as multi-tenancy goes, this IS what the "real" On Demand solutions offer; it allows them to set up new customers almost imediately and offers maintenance efficiencies that can be passed on to their customers. Outages occur on both on-premise and On Demand CRM solutions. Sometimes, outages can actually be more difficult and costly to fix on an on-premise solution. Finally, whether a company is using on-premise or On Demand software, testing and trying things out before taking them "live" is a good thing.

The bottom-line is that you seem to harbor attitudes similar to many of the old guard on-premise vendors. It is these attitudes that have been allowing the On Demand market for CRM to continue its dramtic growth. Become less biased in your opinions and you will see that both on-premise and On Demand solutions have a meaningful and valid place in the marketplace.

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