Software-as-a-Service. Really?

One new-ish term of art that has always bothered me is the curious label of Software-as-a-Service. To that, I say, Really? Software as a service? I don’t think so. Software as a Subscription, maybe. But Service? Whoever invented that term obviously wasn’t from the service industry. Hmmm, maybe they were from the software industry….

No doubt that delivering software over the internet has made our business lives easier. Fewer upgrades, less worry about backups, no more hardware upgrades or software incompatibilities. But let’s be honest, getting the software delivered to your desktop (or smart phone! – see previous post) is a subscription, and only a start.

Any enterprise level software worth its salt needs to have human expertise supporting it to make sure customers get the most out of the software. Otherwise, systems languish, are underutilized and end up not delivering on their promise. They become a disappointment.

Service, real service, around software delivered via the cloud helps customers configure the software to their unique needs, answers subject matter questions relating to the use of the software, and finds ways to extend the usefulness of the software throughout the user’s organization. In the end, real service attached to software-as-a-service helps a business get better, more efficient and more productive by intelligently using the software. Simply sending a user id and password and considering the job done doesn’t get you there.

Enterprise software companies have created huge new business value and opportunity by delivering their product over the internet. Those companies that think that their job ends there will find that value greatly diminished over time as their customers struggle to implement these powerful tools. Those companies that figure out that the job has just begun when the customer hits the On button will find significant opportunity to develop loyal customers whose businesses are transformed by their new, true Software-AND-Service partnership.