A Rose by any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet – Software as a Service
And so it is with Information Technology. No one knows for sure what Software as a Service (SaaS) was originally called but it seems to have origins defined by its first name…or was its name defined by the origins? In the mid-90’s, when it was more an idea than a practice, we called it simply “hosted software”. Many dismissed it as “future-talk” and speculation, thinking few would actually ever pay to “rent” software over the Internet. But those of us in the industry thought it was brilliant. A “win-win”, if you will. Software companies able to make continuous streams of income and consumer companies able to cut back IT costs and never have to worry about upgrades, hardware and the other nightmares of running a mission critical application.
In the late 90’s, it became known as ASP or “Application Service Provider” and the media had caught wind of something new. To date, this was the most popular term coined and was the most widely used. There were over 20,000 mentions of ASP in the press in the year 2000. When we began offering CATSWeb OnDemand in 2000, we considered it an ASP offering and some of the internal (behind the scenes) components are still branded with the ASP nomenclature. As ourselves users of ASP’s poster child Salesforce, we thought the model had great potential and it helped us tremendously when our IT department was in its adolescence.
Coined shortly after ASP around the early 2000’s, some in the industry heard the term SaaS or “Software as a Service”. By 2003 or so this term began to build popularity and momentum as the new buzzword for hosted software. In 2005 SaaS overtook ASP as the acronym of choice and in 2007 there was a peak of over 10,000 press mentions of SaaS. The industry by-and-large still refers to hosted applications as SaaS. We consider CATSWeb OnDemand a SaaS application and refer to it as such currently.
Now there is a new buzzword on the horizon that is rapidly gaining popularity and serves to define the newest generation of hosted applications: “cloud-computing” or simply “cloud”. Cloud is basically the same business model, the same pros and cons and the same major players, like Salesforce and WebEx among many others. Same old idea, shiny new name. And if history is any indication, we’ll see “cloud” gain in popularity until it peaks and another new term is coined to define this industry niche.
I guess the bottom line in all of this is that AssurX has a strong, time-tested, customer-proven hosted offering in our CATSWeb OnDemand product. And frankly, we don’t care whether it’s referred to as “hosted software”, ASP, SaaS, cloud computing or the next new thing, whatever that may be. We still intend to offer our software for customer use over the Internet for as long as people want to use it that way. We will always strive to better our offerings, our uptime, our security and our reputation in this hosted model and be frontrunners in providing the best features and reliability with the best dollar for dollar value in the industry.
“Hosted software by any other name, would still accomplish the same”.