When the Open Cloud Manifesto was unveiled last week by IBM et al I wrote "The (Cloud) Bastards say, Welcome"
And I invited several cloud pioneers who have been at it - delivering cloud based products and services or helping evaluate and nurture them for several years - to discuss the manifesto and what they have learned in Cloud Computing over the last few years.
This time it is Jeff Kaplan of THINKstrategies, who has had a front row seat watching the SaaS, cloud computing and managed services marketplace for the last decade. He is program chairman of CloudWorld, program advisor to SaaScon, and the SaaS/Cloud Computing/Managed Services track chair at Interop and NetworkWorld’s IT Roadmap.
“They say recessions are the time to retrench and go conservative. So what did I do during the tech slowdown of 2001? I started my firm, THINKstrategies to focus on the shift in the IT/software industry from a product-centric to a services-driven orientation.
Even though application service provider (ASP) and managed services ideas were disappearing along with the demise of dot.coms, I was convinced that convergence of changing customer attitudes regarding IT, escalating business pressures and rapidly evolving technology advancements would lead to a resurgence of web-based services.
And each year, my hunch has been validated. In 2005, THINKstrategies teamed with Cutter Consortium to conduct a series of SaaS user surveys which found wider interest and adoption of SaaS than other market research firms were willing to recognize at that time. Our 2006 survey found adoption was spreading across many enterprise application categories and into various vertical market industries. Our 2007 survey found growing acceptance of SaaS among IT professionals who had previously resisted SaaS adoption by individual business units. And, our most recent SaaS survey in November 2008 found that SaaS adoption had nearly doubled over the previous year to 63% fueled by the economy and over 90% customer satisfaction and referral rates. These are success rates which few legacy application vendors can match.
My own “tribute” to cloud pioneers came from the SaaS Showplace (www.saas-showplace.com) we launched in 2006 to catalog startups in the market. which is now the largest and highest ranked online directory of SaaS solutions with over 1000 companies divided into 80 Application, Industry and Enabling Technology categories.
In 2009, as we enter yet another tech recession, we took that recognition a step further. We initiated the Best of SaaS Showplace (BoSS) Awards program to bring attention to SaaS and cloud computing companies which are producing tangible business benefits for specific user organizations. These benefits include increased sales, lower costs, higher customer satisfaction, faster operations, and greater profitability. The first round of BoSS Awards include ActionStep, CrownPeak, Daptiv, NTRglobal, Rally Software, Savvis, SPS Commerce, TimeTrade Systems and Xactly.
I feel privileged to have been in the thick of this important transition in the industry for almost a decade now, and am committed to continuing to support this movement as it becomes a mainstream phenomenon that can help organizations of all sizes survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world.”