IDC’s 10 SaaS predictions

You might consider saving the $3,500 it costs to buy the report, BTL is running the list here. But with predictions like this let’s just say I think they owe the people who actually paid for this report at least 5 freebies.

SaaS Will Help Drive a Software Industry Transition to Subscription Licensing

Gee, ya think?

I find it hard to believe that anyone actually pays to buy these “top 10″ reports that the analysts put out. Sure they are mildly interesting, but can anyone say they are terribly revealing? Plus, nobody ever goes back and actually scores the analysts on how well they do on predictions over time, at least nothing I have seen has ranked them. If you know of site that ranks analysts, please let me know.

No, I think what happens with these reports is that IDC et. al. sends them out to their clients who then end up emailing them to everyone, who then turns around and uses the predictions in their powerpoint presentations as validation for what their company is doing. Pretty soon, the phrase “IDC predicts blah blah blah” becomes widespread and IDC has accomplished a primary goal, getting their name in print…

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Sandboxes….and the law.

Thomas just posted a really interesting item about Saleforce.com launching a service to create sandbox/development systems which, according to Thomas, appears to be a copy of a live production system that a SFdC customer would have. Being astute as he is (SAP has some very smart people) Thomas notes that this service may be illegal under UK, and potentially EU, data privacy regulations which prohibit the use of real people data in development systems.

The immediate question is whether or not Saleforce.com's new service is legal in the EU, and another more interesting question is whether or not Salesforce considered the legal requirements of the regions they operate in when they conceived this service. 

At least over here the terms sandbox and live data probably shouldn’t go in the same sentence. The data captured in CRM systems is typically personal information. (according to the UK Data Protection act of 1998 personal data “means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified”)

This issue of global regulatory compliance is a huge issue, as ebay, google, and yahoo have discovered in recent years. As enterprise software companies increasingly rely on subscription services they are also subject to increased regulation from any of the countries they have customers in.

Traditional enterprise software has always been subject to regulatory compliance within the software we developed, but of course we always had the option of not shipping a product to a country where it was not in compliance. With online services this is a much more difficult proposition, even though it is still possible to simply not accept new users from countries where the products are infringing.

Irrespective of the above, it is still an essential function within a company shipping products or services across borders that they monitor and take into account in the product planning function the legal requirements they are subject to.

"Understanding the mass of law that impacts software globally is not easy. What may be perfectly sound business practice in country A is illegal in country B. That is why things like global HR systems and global CRM are complex. The German user group have a 120 page guide to the legal issues around this just for CRM. Data Protection law is a big, messy complex area. Too many software firms, consultancies and customers don’t take it seriously enough."

Technorati Tags: enterprise software, salesforce.com, legal

Cliché of the Week

I’ve always been a little reluctant to partake in the “cliché of the week” blog meme, but today I received a press release that had a phrase I have heard so many times in the last 3 years that it definitely qualifies as a cliché:


“…who was one of the first to invest in Salesforce.com”

There are so many people who claim to be early investors in SFdC, and indeed may very well be, that this phrase has become the new “I was at Woodstock too” calling card in the Valley.

Units of Measure

I just read the funniest comment in a forum post about units of measure (don't ask):

“In Australia we have two specialist units of measure.

The Sydharb is a measure of volume – ie this dam hold as much as half of Sydney Harbour

The Slab is a unit of work – How much to run the dozer over my drive on the way past (to a council worker)? …. oh 2 slabs (each slab being 24 cans of beer)”

Google Finance (beta) launches

The new Google Finance service is really slick, a much better layout than Yahoo! Finance and some nice extras like charts that are draggable and have links on the tick marks to major news stories. Also worth noting is that they are linking blog posts about the stock in question to the finance page (would love to see the criteria and filter for that). SeekingAlpha has a much better post than mine on what the service is offering and why it's significant.

Google Finance: Oracle Corporation (guess their earnings announcement yesterday was a little disappointing)

UPDATE: For some inexplicable, this link to a post explaining how Google Finance is an example of how Google is no longer an innovative company was in a comment to an unrelated post. 

UPDATE2: Interesting to see the debate about this, Om thinks it's a disappointment while Charlene thinks it's a strong offering. The reason why I think it's a good service is that it gives me more of what I need right up on the front page, there's less clutter than on Yahoo!'s finance page. To put it another way, I don't think that what Google has done here raises the bar to a level that is beyond the immediate reach of Yahoo!, quite the opposite in fact.

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