Only software development companies should be in the business of software development. Expending limited resources on developing your own software is typically not a great idea. ROI is typically not positive, and the software will need to be managed over its life cycle. Control of data is typically cited a drawback. Control is "false security." Even data controlled by internal resources are prone to loss or exposure. To paraphrase Tom Peters (or was it Peter Drucker?) Stick to your knitting - your core business - let those who develop and maintain software do what THEY do.
There is a lot of redundancy in having many separate businesses each attempt to handle their own IT needs. IT is becoming progressively more complex and specialized, while recent high-profile security breaches have drawn attention to how costly it is to do the job poorly. It makes sense that businesses will want to shift that function to being handled by companies that specialize in it to simplify their operations. As a happy side-effect from the perspective of a business, this approach also gives them someone that they can blame in case of something like a breach that results in private customer data being stolen.
It's easy to see that SaaS applications will continue their expansion into the business technology market, given the mitigated costs and reduced data loss risks inherent in cloud computing. That being said, I think there will be some backlash from companies using traditional software models, as many corporations seem somewhat resistant to change.
Google Docs and Office 365 are two of the most widespread options now available for software as a service applications. These remote software services provide a new and exciting future for business teams, and allow independent professionals to easily stay-up-to-date on software upgrades, while also saving money and allowing for easy online collaboration. As more and more business professionals go mobile with multiple devices (laptops, smart phones, tablets), the SaaS options make the transition between devices easier, faster and less expensive.
I see it all around, yes, software as a service apps are just on the horizon now. Any one with a smart phone can see how it is changing how we do things. From music to games, there will be a need for service, in the near future. And, I can only see it growing, both here and abroad.
SaaS are a great way for companies to use computers to generate revenue. Using computers to generate revenue will ultimately lower the overhead costs of most companies, and therefore create more green jobs. When a company uses SaaS, they are in fact cutting waste, saving labor costs and being more efficient in the workplace.
With traditional software you pay for the software and you buy hardware on which to run it. If you need more capacity you have to buy more hardware. With Saas you simply pay-as-you-go for the user licenses and you have virtually unlimited capacity because the cloud is elastic and expands or contracts to the size needed.
SaaS applications such as Google Docs and Gmail offer very useful software to customers that do not require downloading and installing. This allows for faster implementation of such software types (being able to use them in hours rather than days) and saves money for businesses/individuals who choose to use them because servers and other software are not required to use SaaS applications.
Software as a service reduces IT costs, because it is readily and immediately available. When a business needs an application, the business doesn't have to wait months for the code to be written. This reduces the number of systems analysts and programmers needed. The provider of the software performs all maintenance, which reduces the duties of the IT staff at the business level. The company making widgets can concentrate on making widgets, instead of making widgets and maintaining a large IT staff.
Most applications for businesses are created out of necessity or the demand for a said service. If SaaS exists, it will certainly only grow. How long will it take before something else sleeker comes along to replace it or improve it? It is anyone's guess.
I've been in IT for 30 years and I've seen this silly acronyms come and go. OOP, client server, SOA, functional programming, SEI CMM. I've heard these stories again and again over the years. I think they are typically promoted by either journalists or consulting companies trying to sell something. Everyone always things you can't write these reusable components that you just plug in and it magically works. It doesn't.
No, I don't think SaaS are the waves of the future for business information technology, because the software can easily be corrupted, or somebody could easily get into your application, and steal all of your work. It's not very safe for your business, as it could put everybody at risk.
I do not believe that SaaS represents the future of software, because it removes a company's direct control of data. Having your data "in the cloud", exposes you to a many issues, including data theft and denial of service, due to provider outages. In addition, the lack of direct data access can also be prohibitive for in-house customization.
The concept of software as a service is sound, but what is available right now would ruin any company that tries to use it. The software is buggy, the security is lousy and if something goes wrong anywhere on the network the companies will be left high and dry. The SaaS applications are incomplete and should only be in some kind of beta testing phase, not for sale. Companies are just in a hurry to make back their money spent in development and are releasing a product before it is ready.
Hearing the word software is like hearing the word "Myspace". Its time is nearing an end, and it will soon be obsolete. Everything has a run time and goes its course, and the "new" software won't be the next thing. Instead, it will be something new altogether. Software for service applications is not the future, but instead it is just a distraction until we do get to the future.
While there are many benefits at first glance to the software as a service concept there are certain drawbacks that I believe will prevent its wide-scale acceptance among businesses. First and foremost is the inherent security problems in using off site programs to access sensitive company information, potentially opening the door for company secrets being compromised. Secondly the service depends on ability to access the off site software. If the off site software is unavailable for any reason then the company's workforce will be left with no way to complete their tasks.