Software as a Service: Hot or Hype?

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Software as a service (SaaS) is the latest buzz, but can agents be successful adding these hosted applications to their portfolios? SaaS refers to applications delivered over the Internet via a standard Web interface. SaaS providers offer their applications on a pay-as-you-go basis, often with per-month, per-user pricing. SaaS has strong growth potential, with 5.1 percent of PC-owning small firms and 15.2 percent of PC-owning medium firms planning to move forward with an SaaS solution within the next 12 months, according to an IDC study published in March.

Small firms are attracted by the pay-as-you-go model and medium firms appreciate off-loading IT tasks, IDC says. But interest in specific solutions, rather than the appeal of SaaS in general, will drive adoption among SMBs. Signs of increased channel activity are emerging. Steve Crawford, vice president of marketing for Jamcracker, and Charles Cary, vice president of small business services for XO will be on hand to discuss this opportunity in the session, “Converged Communications Meets Software as a Service.”

In the discussion, which will also include Russ Maney, vice president of marketing for Smoothstone IP Communications Corp., agents can find out about the hot hosted software services and how bundling them with hosted and non-hosted communications services can achieve greater results.

XO, for example, is offering its SaaS along with connectivity solutions. It also may, at some future point, be a contributor to the Jamcracker network by syndicating its hosted VoIP service to Jamcracker’s other distribution partners.

Combining the SaaS approach with communications convergence – voice, data and video over one IP network – offers incremental value for the customer and the channel partner, says Maney.

Converged communications and SaaS create a new opportunity for channel partners to deliver a completely managed and comprehensive LAN/WAN voice/data/video solution to their customers.

IDC www.idc.com
Jamcracker Inc. www.jamcracker.com
Smoothstone IP Communications Corp. www.smoothstone.com
XO Communications Inc. www.xo.com
Yankee Group www.yankeegroup.com

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