SaaS (Software as a Service): Service-Based SW 2.0

The success of Google has led to further Web development and the next Web 2.0 wave. Google broke the stereotype of computer relying solely on OS as platform, spearheading the shift to service environment as true platform to challenge the Microsoft-dominated software domain.

Search engine giant Google provides not only search services, but also software similar to Microsoft Office directly online. After announcing its Web-based office software, Google wasted no time in introducing Google SpreadSheet. The possibility of switching from MS Excel to Google SpreadSheet for PC application has Microsoft extremely nervous. Different from previous software, the Google version utilizes the vast powers of the Internet to support various software services. Microsoft currently considers Google as its chief rival.

With Windows Vista, Microsoft launched the next generation in OS and expects to be the worldwide leader in providing MS-OS. However, more and more people are starting to take notice of service-based software, gradually moving away from the traditional method of paying a standard purchase fee. Instead, many customers choose to pay service fees according to usage. This method is called Software as a Service (SaaS) and is fast becoming the mainstream in the software market.

SaaS refers to providing software through a service model. Even though software is currently sold in package form, more and more service models like the Internet or web hosting continue to support service application. Third-party hosting has existed for quite some time, connecting from far ends at lower costs to provide software service. Hosting companies self-develop and maintain software, which is similar to the outsourcing concept of application service provider (ASP).

Compared to ASP, which progressed along with the Web, SaaS is advancing even more markedly. ASP uses software as a service center, while SaaS provides value within the customer’s service environment.

SaaS revolves around the Internet’s ability to offer software capabilities. Aside from convenient usage, it allows for monthly payment or prorated payment. In addition, usage fee can be recouped through ad revenue, reducing the fee and administration cost for customers. The unique SaaS changed the way the software market operates. The idea of licensing off-line software packages as the standard operating model license to improve sales can be combined with the Internet, integrating on/off-line businesses and making SaaS the new turning point in software business.

Challenged by Google, Microsoft is driven to develop a future plan involving on-demand SaaS. In addition, SaaS is the method of choice for international giants Oracle and SAP. After merging with Siebel, SAP initiated its SaaS business. To bring about salesforce.com, SAP has announced its intention to provide third-generation SaaS solution with the support of its R&D personnel and fellow partners.

SaaS will swiftly enter the market and expand rapidly, creating an architecture and open platform that is based on the software needs and price criteria of each user and allows customers to experience trial use. These features are quintessential to Web 2.0. Along with the development of the Web and trend toward a Web 2.0 model based on open platform, SaaS will revolutionize the way software businesses are run.


SaaS (Software as a Service) : 服務性的SW 2.0


全 球網路搜尋巨擘Google,除了提供搜尋引擎的服務之外,更藉由網路直接提供類似Microsoft Office的辦公軟體。Google繼去年發表以Web為基礎的辦公軟體後,又緊接著發佈了Google Spreadsheet試算表線上軟體,使微軟十分緊張,Google Spreadsheet可為PC Application,亦可與MS的Excel互換應用。因與先前所提供的軟體類型有所不同,能藉由具巨大影響力的網際網路來支援多種軟體服務,目前 Google被微軟視為最具威脅性的競爭對象。

微軟發表的下一代作業系統(OS) Windows Vista,預估將以領先全球的方式提供MS-OS系統。如今越來越多的人開始關注服務型的軟體,逐漸脫離支付固定金額購買產品的傳統方式,多數用戶選擇 僅於特定期間支付使用功能的服務費用,也就是「軟體即服務 (Software as a Service)」的模式,其服務模式即將成為日後軟體市場極具代表性的主流。

軟體即服務 (Software as a Service: SaaS),是指以服務的模式提供軟體。雖然現今的軟體皆以Package的營運模式來銷售,但由於越來越多藉由網路或Web Service及Hosting等的服務方式,繼續支援Application服務,所以很早以前就有由第三者運作Hosting,以較低的成本使用遠端 連接,提供軟體的服務。由Hosting公司自行開發且維護軟體的管理作業,類似於Outsourcing概念的ASP (Application Service Provider)。

SaaS的概念和與Web同時成長的ASP相比,更是有明顯地進步。以應用軟體為服務中心的供應商稱之ASP,於顧客接收的服務環境內所提供的核心價值可稱謂SaaS (Software as a Service)。

軟 體服務化是透過網際網路提供軟體功能的服務模式,除了使用上的便利之外,亦可採用月付或以計量價的方式支付金額,另外,使用費用可以以廣告收益來替代,對 使用客戶而言可降低使用費用與管理作業的成本。新穎的SaaS改變了軟體市場的供應模式,像off-line軟體事業的Package,以典型的營運模式 利用License來提升業績,將結合off-line的軟體與網際網路,整合on/off-line事業,SaaS將是軟體事業新的轉折點。

被Google 遭受打擊的微軟,積極策劃日後的發展方向,將以On-Demand的SaaS模式營運。另外,像國際市場的巨頭Oracle、SAP公司亦積極採用 SaaS模式。Oracle與Siebel公司合併後,開展SaaS線上業務的事業,SAP為了因應Salesforce.com,已宣布由研發技術人員 及合作廠商的共同參與,將供應第三世代的SaaS Solution。

我們預估SaaS即將更迅速的進入 市場且快速擴張,且依照各使用者對軟體功能的需求及價格條件,可由顧客直接決定及試用,建立顧客參與型的Architecture與Open Platform,其應用軟體擁有Web2.0的主要特性。隨著Web的發展,將出現以Open Platform為基礎的Web2.0的事業模式,SaaS即將會轉變軟體事業的營運模式。