The Race for SaaS Dominance

The race for SaaS dominance is getting hot and heavy. Jotspot has been acquired by Google which gives them a Wiki-like Office, calendaring, spreadsheet, planning collaboration platform based in AJAX and already using Google Maps and Search APIs. Salesforce.com has just announced its Apex language and developer workbench which will broaden its very successful AppExchange initiative which has over 400 3rd party vendors. Microsoft collaborates closely with SocialText while expanding its Live line-up, and Oracle bought Sunopsis which provides new Web Services and interoperaibility muscle to its Fusion and OnDemand set of SaaS offerings.

The only major software vendor not in on the action is IBM which continues to foster partnerships rather than entering the market directly. But of course, many would argue that IBM slate of SOA and Web Services including development tools is tantamount to first strike SaaS capabilities.

The final interesting trends are the emergence of AJAX as the tool of choice for the GUI (but remember there are many frameworks to choose from) and the divergence in tools used. Salesforce.com and Microsoft are using fairly proprietary approaches while Google/JotSpot and Oracle are relatively open and standard – e.g. Sunopsis is known for using as standardized a database SQL as possible in its interconnectivity services. We think the use of AJAX is more important because that will give leverage again to vendors that use browser and platform agnostic AJAX frameworks. It will also start to ramp up more 6 As pressure – the ability to deliver UIs in one development format that are not only OS platform independent but also support multiple devices: mobile, remotely controlled kiosk, desktop or whatever.

In sum, SaaS is likely to really shake both single user collaboration but also big level SOA/ESB efforts because a lot of the tools and techniques will overlap. Now it is a race to see who has the SaaS/SOA/ESB mixture closest to right.

(c) JBSurveyer 2006