SaaS is the Future

Software as a Service

Great Web 2.0 Services

Using online web services is part and parcel of my daily routine as a web developer. For time-keeping and invoicing I use the excellent FreshBooks by 2ndSite, for To Do lists I’ve been using Remember The Milk, for document collaboration Google Docs is the best option at the moment, and I use Google Calender and Google Reader for scheduling and RSS feeds respectively.

As more and more services, which traditionally were only available as desktop software are adopted for the web, they become more flexible, accessible and are far easier to use. For developers, hosted software is easier to update, maintain, and monetise. And with complete control over who has access to the software, the idea of software piracy is now as old as the notion of a downloadable trial version.

Taking Advantage

Software as a Service (SaaS) has really gotten my attention of late and I think I’ll be spending more of my time in this area over the next while. I believe there is a great opportunity to provide tailored software for specific industries and communities. The days of large software houses dominating the market is coming to an end. Tools that try to be all things to all people often fall short of the mark and end up bloated and difficult to use. In contrast, providing software that is highly tailored to market niches is a more focused approach that is growing in popularity.

Collaboration is King

Hosted software can be accessed by any computer with an Internet connection, it all runs directly within the browser. This simple shift in the software paradigm highlights a major advantage that SaaS has over traditional desktop software. It facilitates a truly collaborative and multi-user environment, which will encourage a whole new wave of software applications to be created. So far, this opportunity has mainly been manifested in social networking websites, but they have struggled to convert their huge visitor numbers into huge piles of cash.

A business collaboration tool built on the SaaS model that also harnesses the inherent social networking capabilities of the web is the type of project that really interests me.

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