SaaS is generally approached from the standpoint that a SaaS provider will write an application and sell it as a service to other businesses. This provides the many well known business driver benefits to those who use SaaS. Additionally, it is also well understood that the provider generates certain efficiencies via the centralization of the technical burden associated with the application. Is there another realm of SaaS applicability, however? In my opinion, absolutely!
Whenever I gauge the ‘size’ of a SaaS provider, I look to see how many subscribers they support – not customers, but actual individual users. Many SaaS providers are in the 5,000 user to 20,000 user range across hundreds of customers. While these numbers are not small, some Fortune 500 companies have more employees than this, spread across numerous subsidiaries. Furthermore, the Fortune 500 write a considerable amount of software for use by their employees, with some software (such as HR/Expense Reporting/Time Management apps) used by virtually every employee. Can SaaS help organize this scenario? From the technical/architectural standpoint – yes it can. If an enterprise were to write software for their employees & subsidiaries with a single instance, multi-tenant model in mind, they would undoubtedly be able to centralize and organize administration while being able to distribute functionality. That’s powerful and efficient.
Have you worked on any intra-enterprise SaaS applications? Who were your tenants – subsidiaries or departments? Did IT realize efficiencies through the model?
PS: If you are in the U.S., have a happy and safe 4th!