Customer-centric Growth by Lincoln Murphy

SaaS, Web Apps, or Just ‘Apps’?

On my last trip to San Francisco I sat down with Matt Childs of DreamSimplicity to talk about the state of SaaS.

We shot some video as we talked about how Google & Apple have changed the distribution landscape for SaaS & Mobile making App Stores & Marketplaces a new reality for SaaS vendors and their distribution strategies.

The conversation also focused a lot on how the term “SaaS” is not found, at least prominently, in the Google Apps Marketplace and whether or not this means anything for SaaS vendors or if it is reflective of a lack of resonance by “App Vendors” – web or otherwise – with the term SaaS. That is the topic of this video, embedded below:

What was potentially more interesting, and not caught on camera, was later conversation about whether or not the term “SaaS” even matters any more. Perhaps another way to frame that thought is this: True Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) leverages the SaaS Business Architecture (SBA) where you have a multi-tenant, network-centric commingling of Marketing, Intellectual Property, Technology, and Revenue Model.

But, the SBA applies equally to SaaS, Web Apps, Cloud, PaaS, IaaS (some flavors and vendors) and even Mobile. This then begs the question: since the main thing is the SBA, not the consuming market, not the type of device or even method of consumption of the service, is the term “SaaS” as many have defined it simply too limiting?

Further, have large companies like, with its $11B market cap, inadvertently associated the term “SaaS” with a certain company scale that bootstrapped startups simply do not associate themselves with?

Are we SaaS industry insiders keeping our message of SBA and the associated Revenue Model, Distribution, & Pricing Strategy best practices out of the hands of the very companies that need to hear the message most because we insist on using a term that does not resonate outside of our small “community?” This is certainly an interesting topic for discussion.

There are many of us that have always believed 1) there has to be a better name than “Software-as-a-Service” and 2) at some point this technology, delivery method, business model – whatever you use to refer to it – will cross the chasm into mainstream and at that point it would likely just revert back to “software.”

But things seem to be accelerating at a faster pace vis a vi mainstream adoption and with Google and Apple behind the term, Apps seems to be the term likely to replace SaaS. What are your thoughts?

Let’s Grow Your SaaS Company

For immediate consultation and advice on effective growth strategies and tactics for your SaaS company, schedule a 60-minute meeting with me via Clarity. If you feel a more involved engagement is required for me to help you, email me with the specifics of your situation (as much detail as you’re comfortable giving) and we’ll setup a meeting to work through the particulars.


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