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November 30, 2005


Michael Mankowski

I would disagree with equating ASP and SaaS. In the ASP model, software which is written for client/server is "served" up by a hosting firm to end users. The software is not necessarily configured to be delivered through a Web browser. In SaaS, the application is designed to be delivered over the Web from day one and all functionality is accessible through any browser.


Thanks for your considered comment, Michael! In my opinion, though, the difference between ASP and SaaS that you identified is merely a function of an incremental change in software design philosophy (e.g. build it for the web, not client/server). I'm not arguing that Salesforce.com and others like it aren't better than the ASP offerings of yore; they are, because they've matured and have the means to overcome the problems that were so-very-clear 4 years ago. But that doesn't change the fact that it's the same concept with new lipstick, and it's vulnerable to the same fundamental flaws to which the ASP's of years ago were prone. Renaming it doesn't change that fact, and it's the industry's apparent ease with this small lie that annoys me.

As it happens, I've been advocating the use of Salesforce.com in our own organization for some time. (We use ACT right now, and it's a bear to maintain, for various reasons.) So I'm not against the ASP/SaaS model by any means. I'd just wish that we'd agree to call a spade a spade and not try to obviate the realities of these things by referring to them as "turf removal devices".

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