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Jeff Raikes (Important Exec at Microsoft) talkes about lots of things, including how Office might go in a SaaS / SwS world

This is funny, I was discussing Software as a Service (SaaS) / Software with Service (SwS) with a few people the other day.  I said that I thought Exchange and Outlook were the best examples of Software WITH Service and why SWS is better than SAAS.

Lets run through a scenario, it’s OK, not brilliant, but highlights the point.

  • Client Server – a bit like Outlook with a POP3 account and no offline functionality.
  • Service only – Exchange without any client except Outlook Web Access – full web based access – the 07 version is great, but no offline capability and limited by what a browser can do.
  • Software WITH Service – Outlook connected to Exchange 07 – can use on the web (OWA) can use disconnected – Outlook in Cached mode.  You get the best when the two are connected and working together.

To me, this is the ideal of the future – I get what I want when I want it – like now, on a train, writing this blog – I hit send, when I sync up, it will appear on my blog.  Magic and the 3 hours on the train are useful catch-up time for me.

Some applications just don’t add value being browser or internet ONLY based – eg the Office desktop apps.  While I might be connected 50-60% of the time, not being able to use them the rest of the time is a huge pain, so I just can’t.  Others, I am very happy to live with only when connected, so they are great – these are to be honest new category applications (IMHO) than traditional applications.

Anyway, what did Jeff have to say about all this:

"...I think Exchange is a platform that will more rapidly move to a service form than Office client applications, where most of the time you want to optimise the power at your fingertips.

...I don't get a lot of interest in running Word over the internet. Bandwidth is precious, and most people have Office. Nobody's crystal ball is perfect, but I think in a few years those who say software is dead will go the way of those people who said PCs were dead and network computing was the thing.

The reason is, people get very focused in on trying to undermine Microsoft and they don't get very focused in on the customer. You have all this horsepower at your fingertips, whether it's your PC or your laptop or your mobile device, and you have all that horsepower in the cloud. Why not use the combination of the horsepower in order to optimise the experience. Do I really want to run the Word bits over my network connection, or do I want to use it to store contents, to have access to them anywhere, to share and collaborate and so on. It's the combination....

...hosted Exchange has done as well as any hosted business email system. So the question is, to what extent will businesses want to access these things online? Some of my colleagues think that, in 10 years, no companies will have their own Exchange servers. I'm not quite that aggressive!

Posted Wed, Mar 7 2007 10:38 PM by David Overton


Vijay Singh Riyait wrote re: Jeff Raikes (Important Exec at Microsoft) talkes about lots of things, including how Office might go in a SaaS / SwS world
on Wed, Mar 7 2007 11:24 PM

Absolutely agree and I have a customer that I configured for 1and1's hosted Exchange Server because they didn't want(afford) the server infrastructure. It works fantastically (apart from the Exchange servers are in the US) and the 2 users get all the usual collaborative working and can work anywhere just with an internet connection with a choice of client device. The service uses RPC over HTTP to deliver to an Outlook 2003 client. They get OWA and Windows Smartphone Access as well! Another supplier tried to sell them a Blackberry until they realised they couldn't install BES (as this is a hosted service) and then when they started talking about POP3 access, their whole proposal fell apart!

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