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Where will your customers be looking for solutions – will they stick to on premise, or will they move towards a S+S or SaaS solution not from you?


I know the table above is really, really simple, but I wanted to start the ball rolling – I have been thinking about this for ages!!  Let me explain the diagram. The horizontal axis signifies how much of a solution is hosted.  An example of this might be Office Live or Hotmail, where almost all of the solution is hosted.  We then have the “on premise” or on-site IT going vertically.  For most people, this is solutions like SBS 2003.  A typical S+S solution might be MS CRM Online which has online components, but also enables you to go off-web and use Outlook or one of the mobile clients when on the road.

While many thought on-line would be the next best thing even the king of on-line, Google, have recently admitted that it would not always be the answer in the posting they made on April 1st.  Steve Clayton did the leg work and checked this was not form of April fool too!!

Even the NY Times is talking about it, which to me says it really is going mainstream - http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG_002570DE00740E180025742400363509.html.


Ok, so that is the picture out the way, now lets talk about the question. Which question you ask… well, this one:

Will any of your customers be running in the “S+S or hosted” marketplace in 5+ years time?

Now while that is a good question, I expect most of you will say … some, definitely not all, but some.  How many customers can you afford to lose to a S+S provider?

Now this leads to an even bigger question ….

What will you have done to ensure they are still your customers, as opposed to someone who is skilled in S+S?

Personally I find this question much more concerning as many people can’t articulate any plans they have to capture these customers!!  So what do I suggest … 

If you are a services partner I recommend you start to look at SaaS services like Office Live that are slowly moving towards S+S or S+S services like CRM online and start to plan how you could add value to them and make money in the future.

If you are an ISV, then now is the time to start to look at services like the Sync Framework - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/sync/default.aspx and the blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/sync/.

You should have most of the other tools already, although if not then other keywords to do some reading on are Hosting, SPLA licensing, Application Virtualisation and Citrix.


If you want to know more, let me know



Posted Sat, Apr 12 2008 4:02 PM by David Overton


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