Web 2.0, meet Software as a Service.
SaaS, meet Web 2.0.
You two need to talk. You’re working on many of the same problems, but you don’t communicate well, and sometimes it seems like each of you barely knows that the other exists.
Web 2.0, you’re certainly fun to hang out with. Your conferences are full of exciting speakers predicting amazing things, and it seems like you come up with a new and interesting product every day. You also throw great parties.
Your name is all over the place, so much so that a lot of people aren’t even sure who you are. You seem to delight in being mysterious and difficult to pin down. SaaS secretly suspects that you may be faking it, like your older brother Bubble did.
You say that you’re interested in enterprise, but it sounds like lip service because almost all of your energy goes into consumer products. SaaS isn’t sure why that is. Maybe it’s because you want to change the world, and you believe that’s best done from the bottom up. Or maybe you just think that corporations are old and evil and you want to do away with them. That’s the vibe you give off sometimes. It’s a shame, because the corporations aren’t going anywhere, and no amount of youthful wishing will change that. Just ask your parents what they did in the 1960s, and you’ll understand.
SaaS, your conferences are about as exciting as watching a wet cat sit in the rain. You take your business very seriously, because you know how easy it is for a software company to fail. You worry endlessly about the needs of IT departments and finding ways to increase productivity by another five percent, because you know that companies and careers are often built on incremental progress. Besides, you know your customers don’t really like revolutions because they’re full of risk.
Nobody outside your circle of friends knows your name. It’s like every other cryptic corporate acronym we’ve seen over the years. Sass. Isn’t that what Sally Field had in “The Flying Nun”? (SaaS will get that joke. Web 2.0, do what you always do when you’re confused — look it up on Wikipedia.)
SaaS, you talk endlessly about how important the Internet is, but sometimes it seems all you really care about is taking your old software and delivering the exact same thing through a new online channel. When Web 2.0 hears you say things like that, it makes them crazy, because delivering old-style software is about the least interesting thing you could possibly do with the Web. It’s like you inherited Leonardo da Vinci’s brushes and you’re using them to paint houses.
But Web 2.0, you need to understand that a lot of what you say and do is equally infuriating to SaaS. You don’t respect the need of enterprises for absolute reliability and complete nonstop reliability. You’ll take down your photo sharing site over a weekend and post an amusing joke in its place, or if you lose a day’s blog postings you just shrug and tell your users to re-enter their information. “Hey, we told you to make backups.”
Web 2.0, you just don’t understand how unacceptable that is to a corporation. SaaS knows that if they lose data or if a key system fails, awful things can happen. Factories grind to a stop, people lose their jobs. If your software’s managing a hospital or an airliner, people could die. Seriously.
The ironic thing is that each of you has something the other needs. SaaS, you know enterprise’s problems, and you’ve got the understanding of business processes and the focus on bulletproof reliability that Web 2.0 lacks. Web 2.0, you’ve got a whole new way of making software that could produce a huge gain in corporate productivity.
If you could only work together, you could create something wonderful. What would we call it? “SaaS 2.0?” “Web as a Service?”
Nah, I know. We’ll call it “the future of enterprise software.”
Web 2.0, meet Software as a Service.