Who will own the SaaS future –

Ben Kepes read my last post and disagreed with my assertions

In an enterprise world, tied as it is to Outlook, MS Office in general and oftentimes IE to boot the above statement carries plenty of validity. However my contention is that the future (my emphasis added) is about small, nimble and agile organisations, the sort of organisations that run on Zoho, Google and Twitter.

I think Ben is missing the point. By definition the future is it an unknown entity. In fact in planning circles, HR and a lot of industries its well accepted that the best predictor of the future is the past. If you accept that premise then MS is in good shape. They missed the internet, but won the browser wars (should that be massacre), they missed home entertainment, look where Xbox is now. Search, webmail (msn) …. The list goes on. Music should be mentioned, its one area where they’ve not made it. Point is, a lot of those functions are consumer and they were late into the game.

The second point I’d like to call Ben up on is his assertion that all consumer users will be early adopters.

I use MS Office but I use Google apps or Zoho roughly 10 times as much as I do MS. Similarly I email with Google and browse with Firefox. We CRM with an Open Source/SaaS product and project plan, specify and Wiki with similar solutions.

Sure they have consumer eyeballs and enterprise eyeballs, but consumers will tend more and more to being earlier adopters and will outrun MS developments and even enterprise is starting to see the value in the new, nimble and alternative options.

My pick is that the operating system/windows live tie up will buy MS some time, but a reinvention is what’s needed if they really want to win this race.

 I’ve met Ben, he’s a great guy, but I wouldn’t call him representative or typical of you’re average small biz owner. I’d put him quite a long way to the left of the adoption curve. In this instance I think Ben has fallen into the trap that most people who play with IT a lot do. That is assume that everyone is the same as themselves.

I think most small businesses owners are innately more conservative, further back on the adoption curve and more likely to fly toward quality. Things like brand and trust will play here. Again all factors that play for MS.

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