Hidden Gems in the Software-as-Services Crown

From AMI-Partners, Laurie McCabe, Vice President, SMB Communications Research writes the following analysis of Software-as-Service Vendors:
Software-as-services (SaS) vendors initially debuted in the late 1990s. SaS pioneers designed their solutions as Internet-based services from the get-go, seizing the opportunity to give customers an alternative to the traditional, packaged software model.
Although some people confused the SaS model with that of application service providers (ASPs), this confusion has abated over the last year or so. In fact, as a category, fortunes of SaS vendors have risen as those of ASPs have declined. While customers may not fully understand some of the fundamental differentiators of the SaS model – such as multi-tenancy and the nuances of a recurring revenue model – they obviously like what the model offers them: lower cost, reduced risk and easier to deploy and manage business solutions.
Without question, salesforce.com’s CEO, Marc Benioff, has created a veritable – and well-funded – marketing machine that has elevated salesforce.com to the status of poster child for the SaS movement. Gradually, as Wall Street and the press have become better educated about the SaS business model, other SaS vendors, such as NetSuite and RightNow, have garnered some time in the spotlight as well. Of course, Siebel’s entry into the market, with CRM On Demand, fueled media attention as well. But, that said, most market awareness continues to be centered on salesforce.com and other CRM SaS players.
However, there are many other successful SaS vendors in the business solutions arena – including a few public companies, as noted below. These companies offer solutions for a wide range of business functions. Here we showcase eleven SaS gems. Some, such as Employease and WebSide Story, began life with a pure-play SaS model. Others, such as Concur and Intuit, have a packaged software heritage, but have added SaS offerings to their portfolios. Finally, there’s ADP, which has synthesized Web-based options with its traditional service bureau business. Although these SaS vendors may not get as much attention as their CRM brethren, they have all proven their ability to:
∑ Attract, retain and grow an active customer base
∑ Establish productive partnerships and go-to-market channels
∑ Earn ongoing investments
∑ Win respect and praise from peers in the industry
Figure 1: Hidden SaS Vendor Gems
Source: AMI-Partners
Click here for the full email including a table AMI-Partners put together
As with their better-known CRM counterparts, these vendors are delivering on the promise of the software-as-services model – and shaking up the software industry status quo. As detailed in AMI-Partners’ upcoming report, Moving On Demand to In Demand for SMBs, as these vendors grow, they are fostering broad-based awareness and adoption of SaS solutions for a wide range of applications and business solutions categories.