What is SaaS
Software as a Service is a term that seems worn thin as of late, but I'd like to shed some light on aspects of what SaaS is. In a recent meeting, I described a plain english scenario that describes what SaaS should be. The scenario goes like this:
As a customer, I should be able to login into an intranet or Internet portal, enter some basic information, and be able to sign up for XYZ service. I should then be able to immediately launch the service and ,with minimal configuration, be able to use the service to accomplish some personal or business function of value to me. I should not have to consider (i.e., worry) about the availability or performance of the service (e.g., servers and operating systems), nor should I have to consider the security of my credentials or data--it just happens (in a perfect SaaS world).
Unfortunately, many supposed SaaS providers do not provide an experience like the scenario I describe above. As with anything in IT, definitions and perceptions evolve and I think this is especially true of everything related to the cloud (cringe at using this catchall). Microsoft also has an nice graphic contrasting SaaS applications with traditional: