In my salad days I worked in sales, selling advertising for a local radio station in my college town. One of the appeals of radio to my small business clients was that it was the only mass media where a local business could, (given a business owner not enamored with the sound of their own nasally voice), sound as big and powerful as larger competitors.
The internet promised this for individuals as well, as hilariously illustrated in the popular and well-travelled cartoon by New Yorker contributor Peter Steiner, ‘On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog’.
In many ways, Software as a Service is similarly appealing for businesses that would benefit from many of the same applications used by larger enterprises (especially those proven in practice that were developed by established software firms). Limitations of capital, resources, and a natural resistance to investing in wasteful shelfware create barriers for small and medium businesses (and in some cases business units in larger firms) to invest in the software solutions from which they would benefit... particularly those not provided by SaaS start-ups, but instead proven solutions from larger firms (such as HP Software).
In a recent survey, these businesses indicate their interest in SaaS also extends past the actual software features to include lower costs through simple installation and minimal configuration, an increased focus on mobility and desire for on-demand everywhere availability, and integrated web-based data backup, reducing the need for costly internal systems. And importantly, fully 69% of small to medium sized businesses indicated a desire to get multiple solutions from a single provider. This desire naturally drives SMBs (and again, business units of larger firms) into the arms of established software providers... but only if these providers are dedicated to the SaaS model.
Increasing ability to access to multiple SaaS-delivered enterprise-level solutions from proven providers adds yet another critical benefit to the Software as a Service model by helping to level the playing field and create new opportunities for every David facing a Goliath.