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Security as a Service (SaaS)

Or maybe the acronym should stand for Storage as a Service (SaaS). Either way, Symantec is getting into the SaaS market in a big way this year. After nearly two years of false starts, disappointing earnings and a mismanaged Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation that ended in a debacle (and infuriated customers and partners as the new ERP system collapsed the company's online ordering applications) in November 2006, Symantec intends to make up for lost ground with the Symantec Protection Network (SPN).

The SPN represents a new recurring revenue channel for value added resellers (VARs) to resell online storage and information security via a subscription. The program began a Beta period last April and will be officially kicked-off this calendar quarter. Some of the more traditional hosting pundits point out that Symantec's service is really more of a traditional (storage and security) managed service and not application software specific; and suggest that Symantec and others may be trying to spin managed services into the SaaS moniker in order to take advantage of the industry buzz and wall street valuations given to SaaS companies. However, Symantec's big move demonstrates the merging of multiple information technology service delivery types which extend beyond software to benefit the customer with the SaaS value proposition and earn the provider an annuity revenue stream. In fact, take hosted CRM software giant Salesforce.com. This one time CRM software application provider has left behind its sales force automation (SFA) business systems heritage and moved to what it calls Platform as a Service (PaaS). The on-demand hosting company clearly is expanding the SaaS model and has its sights set on becoming a SaaS operating system and competing with Microsoft more so than CRM software publishers NetSuite or Aplicor.

Online storage and security are a synergistic duo ripe for subscription services to small and midsize businesses. If Symantec can get its act together and deliver a quality SPN program with broad business partner support, it has the corporate mass and global reseller and distribution channels to bring this subscription service to market and reap the benefits of the annuity service model. More so, a sustained success with online security and storage will accelerate the definition, perception and reach of Software as a Service beyond just business application software programs.

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January 2, 2008 at 11:12 AM in SaaS | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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This blog is focused on hosted, on-demand or software as a service (collectively SAAS) business solutions. To qualify as a SaaS solution, the service should be offered on a subscription (pay as you go) purchase price, housed in a multi-tenant data center and delivered remotely over the Web to web browsers. Business applications include about any front office or back office business system. Frequently cited business applications include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Sales Force Automation (SFA) systems, Enterprise Resource Planning(ERP) systems, Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems, Manufacturing Systems and Human Resource (HR) systems.