Software-as-a-Service Survey

October 23rd, 2007 by

Hi all,

We are conducting survey about Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The purpose of this survey is to gain insight into perceptions that our customer have regarding Software-as-a-Service.

So what is Software-as-a-Service?

What we are talking about is the use of ‘software’ that is installed and accessed via an internet browser. You may have previously heard this model referred to as ‘on-demand’ or ‘hosted’. This is because it is hosted by the service provider, rather then being installed on your own PC or within your office. So this means you just fire up your internet browser and login. No install, no hassle and no management costs!

We’d love to hear about your experiences, feelings and concerns about SaaS, so take our survey today.

Please click here to participate.

The survey closes on November 16, 2007.

Thanks for participating. Your feedback is important to us.

Feel free to also add comments below and let us know your thoughts.
Thanks,

Petra

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21 Comments

Dan Somers
# 23rd October, 2007

Will we get access to the results if we participate?

James
# 23rd October, 2007

The big, really big, hole with SaaS is that if internet connectivity fails, the externally-provided software fails.

Now whether the cost of a loss of company productivity to an outage is offset by traditional software purchase costs remains to be seen. However, if an entire company comes to a standstill due to nobody being able to connect to internet-provided software, that cannot be a great cost saving!

Graham Emmett
# 23rd October, 2007

Happy to complete survey but many of the terms used and categories of use where completely unknown to me. This seemed like a techie led exercise but I think you really need a softer marketing led exercise and assume that the client knows nothing.

William
# 23rd October, 2007

I would have liked to be able to say that, although my company is not considering SaaS, I would like them to do so – but your survey does not allow this.

Incidently, this is the second time I have attempted to respond to a UK2 survey where the design has been faulty!!

Bob Hayden-Gilbert
# 24th October, 2007

The latency would be so great and the internet is far from stable, so I wouldn’t even consider it. In a perfect internet world, where the service never fails and the download speeds are high, then it might be worth considering.

BigBen
# 24th October, 2007

Webmail is the nearest thing to a SaaS application in general use here, and it is highly unsatisfactory for around 20% of the time. Latency and even functionality varies wildly depending on global location and time of day.
Imagine the impact of trying to do something more complex than punting a few text files around. The mind boggles. There’s no point to it from our perspective, and I cannot think of a good reason to endorse a much less reliable method of loading software – and one that is out of our control. That’s bad.

The danger is that this will appeal to the same group that can’t convert or import their own MP3 files and have to buy iPods – people who refuse to understand their own computer systems and won’t forsee the consequences of this. Is this the intention?

Of course, M$ and their ilk would stand to make even more money; so they _would_ be in favour, wouldn’t they? We are wary of all that emanates from there.

Our systems ain’t broke, Petra, so why should we trust someone selling us an ‘improved’ replacement? And just how well would the SaaS applications load?

Very poorly, and not on a weekend, is my suspicion.

Ben

Ine Gundersveen
# 26th October, 2007

I’m afraid my own knee-jerk reaction is similar to the above. Even with my unlimited broadband connection, supply is highly variable and not stable enough for me to go down this route. I can’t predict the future, but at present, this is not in any way an option.

Phil
# 26th October, 2007

I filled out the questionnaire, but it disappeared after 2 questions!

We use software over a WAN in our ourganisation, which amounts to the same thing as Internet.

I hate the way web surveys disappear after the page you have prepared is completed. No way to review what you have said. Not doing another one.

ditlev
# 26th October, 2007

Thanks for all your comments, SaaS is truly an interesting area and your comments ans answers to the survey has been very interesting. Keep them coming!

We will make a blog post with our findings within a week or two.

Thanks again – your input is very valuable for us!

Ditlev Bredahl
CEO, UK2.net

OmniModo.com
# 29th October, 2007

Hi all,

It is likely that SaaS will become more prevalent. In the early days we had text-based email/newsgroups and the content has progressed and so has the network infrastructure.

Google has already adapted the principle on http://docs.google.com.

However, there are some drawbacks. For example, in Australia, all internet traffic is metered and you pay for not just the text you type but for all the banners and popups (unless you disable such things).

I say that we should try to bring fibre to every home and business, make broadband free and get people to pay for the quality value added on-demand services such as TV, movies, music, and even applications.

Kind regards, Michael.

Glenn
# 29th October, 2007

Sounds to me like enforced upgrades to possibly unstable or unsuitable releases, not for me.

Bob
# 31st October, 2007

At the outset of the survey, it states that there are 10 questions. After 2 questions, which if you choose (No) identify that you are not using and are not considering using SaaS. At this point you are excluded from the next 8 questions as the survey then terminates.

This kind of market survey strategy therefore provides and inaccurate public opinion of the product in question, as it eliminates thorough cross section opinion, and only allows full comment from those that are already involved with the product to some degree, and at these early stages of software products it is usually techy’s that are involved and they usually like everything, as its their bag. The ultimate result therefore cannot be a balanced opinion. Not a very good statement about UK2.

Neil Kay
# 2nd November, 2007

1) What Bob Says

2) I can see the model being adopted to a degree on LANs with a central server providing a corporate application because this is pretty much the same as a Citrix/Terminal Services-style configuration.

In theory, SaaS would reduce the need for stupidly-powerful processors at the desktop, but I doubt that the likes of Intel and AMD will put the development brakes on just because everything we need to do could be done with a PIII-Generation CPU, so we’d likely to end up with a P4 3+GHz system with 2GB RAM running Vista (ugh) just to open up a browser.

Eggs in one basket, central support, single point of failure, billing cock-ups resulting in denial of apps, vagaries of the Internet, mobile users, trains – tunnels, location/ownership/privacy/security of corporate data etc etc..

Andy
# 7th November, 2007

Same issues as above: no, I’m not using it, and no, I’m not considering it – and the survey ends.

Clearly, then, the survey doesn’t exist to find out why I’m not interested, reasons for which include:

– non-availability of software when my internet connection goes down, which is quite frequent
– speed / latency
– privacy and confidentiality; I can’t work on confidential data using a method that involves exporting that data to a third party.
– updates – inability to ensure bugs are fixed and vulnerabilities are patched promptly and, conversely, inability to retain the use of known working software while the bugs are ironed out of (often unnecessary) updates.

I can see why some software companies might be in favour – how long before the tired old ‘piracy’ argument gets trotted out, for example – but for me as an end user I see a lot of downsides and no actual benefit.

It’s a solution looking for a problem IMHO. A buzzword and not a lot more.

Gordon Dawson
# 7th November, 2007

Agree with Graham Emmett’s comment. You have assumed a higher level of awareness than is actually the case with some of us. Concrete examples for comparative purposes would have helped.

Hope you do not see this as negative!

David Harding
# 7th November, 2007

I’ve read articles about SaaS over the past few months and read the comments above and generally agree.

Certainly, at the moment, there’s no way I’d use SaaS – I like to have the software sitting on my machines so I can build web applications on my Apache and IIS local servers. I can understand why software companies would like to charge pay-as-you-go though…not for me matey!

By the way, I couldn’t finish the survey – it finished on answer 2 – even after I’d clicked on ‘Currently considering SaaS’.

David

John
# 7th November, 2007

The answer is NO – unequivocally NO

Andrew Fawcett
# 12th November, 2007

An interesting discourse

A lot of the posts above miss the point somewhat i fear. It is not really about delivering todays applications over the network : SaaS allows an entirely new breed of applications which are built with communication, mobility and presence-awareness at the core. The key applications which will emerge and succeed in this space will be communications-centric. There are also a large number of technologies such as Colligio which allow applications to become less dependent / more tolerant of network loss.

James
# 13th November, 2007

What the others have said about the way the questionnaire shuts out the opinions of anyone who doesn’t currently have and isn’t currently considering SaaS. Allowing further responses could show you what might be needed to get users to consider and/or whether they have ideas etc. about SaaS which are wrong and could be helped by further info.

Currently I’m not interested in SaaS – what about work you might want to do in transit on train or plane?

I would be interested in WebDAV, however, if it was available in a suitable package.

SoloUK
# 14th November, 2007

Restricting my comments here to global WAN Saas…

Fine for non critical entertainment, communication or gaming etc.

Ridiculous for anything at all that requires: reliable access to data; security or speed of access.

I feel this would just be another revenue stream for those massive companies that can afford to create the software and run/manage the host servers.

Would be used just as another place to force advertise the next incredible updates ad infinitem.

PS: I don’t do questionnaires that restrict the ability to consider and respond to all information that is being gathered as it seems just like another email address gathering excercise to get details of those that are in some way interested – not a particularly cleverly hidden stunt.

PPS: this page is not even designed properly – try tabbing between these entry fields – another weak example of forced advertising?:)

Al
# 19th November, 2007

The thing is the service is only as good as the link – as many have mentioned – but which is better for the majority than most realise. So then its only as good as the provider – and as UK2 have had various ‘issues’ in recent years (failing to forward mail and loosing it completely) you would need to have a100% solid reputation first.

I work with a client that has an entirely on-line package for an accounting and time costing function – and they love it – can use when at the holiday home etc. Also makes on-site config simpler – just need a browser – no backup or maintenance issues. The only issue is moaning if the net is slow – which isnt very often – only once in 2 years. Overall it is definitely better than having the on-site version of the package – which they used to.

But this technology, where it completely replaces a locally installed package, will be for vertical applications initially – not generalistic WP or other basic functions.

As always its only when people start to use the applications that acceptance will grow and trust gained.

I remember when Hotmail was revolutionary – I mean, have all your email off-site and access it anywhere! This is an excellent example – people will use this for personal use but its just not seamless or fully featured enough for corporate use.

When you get to the point where you cant actually tell that its a web app in use then thats the point that it will take off. We are a way off yet but not that far.

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