SaaS-y

July 10, 2006

And now for something completely different… That’s basically the point behind Phil Wainewright’s comment today on his ZDNet blog.  The hosted software model is different.  Enterprise application vendors who are retooling their offerings to be web-accessible are missing the point. 

The challenge for Enterprise 2.0 firms is to predict what users really want/need, toss out what’s extraneous and “old school,” while keeping the door open for new possibilities. 

We had good news today. An strategic friend of Itensil’s agreed to make an introduction for us to a company aligned in our space. I was reading Rafe Needleman’s comments yesterday on Release 1.0. I originally posted here that we had a “big app” but was since gently corrected by our development staff that we do not. Itensil builds browser-based i.e., thin-client, apps that are modular as opposed to monolithic apps that need to be downloaded. In fact, we were recently trying to explain the difference between what we do (and how we do it) and a competitive product on the market that claims to be web 2.0. Our lead developer pointed out that if you have to download the desktop-based designed app, then compile and deploy packages, they actually aren’t web 2.0. He added, “Also, all the BP** standards are great for server engines and compilers. Once you’ve made the design, the executabable is disconnected and optimized. That disconnection makes adhoc uses difficult.”

Upon further analysis of Needleman’s column, I realized he was really talking about suites of applications vs. apps that do one “lite” thing very well. Our genuine web 2.0 product runs deep and wide (IOHO). It’s our belief that this category of web 2.0 apps is representative of the next wave of easily customizable, implementable user-directed innovation for the enterprise.

Dion Hinchcliffe is our favorite blogger right now. His last two posts are manna from the blogosphere. Our clients consistently improve our software by forcing us to innovate and doing some of the innovating themselves. It’s the free-form nature of Enterprise 2.0 applications. For instance, one of our clients asked us if we could change our user interface because their clients needed it to be “stoopid easy.” Sure. We can do that. Another one of our clients asked us to create a set of Xforms for the Crossing the Chasm market segmentation process that guides the marketer through the process, performing the analysis online and providing video clips of consultant guidance. All without programming and infinitely reusable. It’s these continuous improvements and user-directed modifications that are so easily implementable in such short time frames that remove all doubt that legacy enterprise apps and the new enterprise web 2.0. apps are worlds apart.

It’s here and it’s fabulous. Our alma mater is even publishing on it. See the MIT Sloan Spring report. Who knew what we were creating would become suddenly fashionable? Somehow, probably because we were, uh, working, we missed the collaboration event of the summer. Some excellent material came out of that conference, nonetheless. A nice roundup of speakers and materials is available at Rod Boothby’s web site (see post 6/25/06). ZDnet blogger Ryan Sullivan came on strong today with a pro-Web 2.0 piece today. Phil Wainewright had raised some issues last week about Web 2.0 app reliabilty that didn’t really get addressed, however. The best news today, came from CNET. An article by Martin LaMonica, “Corporate America Wakes up to Web 2.0.”

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