SaaS: let IT do the work

My car turns on the lights when I start the engine and turns them off when I turn the engine off. Shouldn't all cars do that? I'm shocked when I rent a car and learn they still make cars that leave the lights on when the key isn't in the ignition. Sure, it's not hard to turn off the lights. If you remember. If you don't, you'll come back to a dead battery. And somewhere in Detroit an engineer is saying "but what if someone wants to leave their lights on all the time?" How often, really, does that happen? Who is this 'someone' that you're referring to?

Computing is rather the same. Windows is great because you can configure it exactly the way you want. You can change every setting. And that's also its weakness. Maintaining a desktop computer isn't really that hard. But somehow my dad manages to move his toolbars from the top to the bottom of the screen. My brother gets a new computer and has no idea what his email settings are. And it's not really the desktop software and OS as much as the settings and the data. Happily, Joel Spolsky has simplified my tech support life with CoPilot. It allows me to connect to my family's computers and fix almost anything without going over there.

I find that I'm now recommending gmail as everyone's primary email client; for me, it's better than Outlook, it can find messages faster, and it creates contacts automatically. And my family members need only to remember their logon info. Everything else is on the server.

Perhaps this is why ARNnet reports that the Software as a Service model is becoming the dominant revenue model for software companies. In some ways, we're returning to the bad ole days of the mainframe; SaaS turns our PCs into clients and puts all the important stuff on the server. The vendor can focus on managing the tools so its customers can focus on using the tools. Sounds like a win-win.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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