There have been a whole raft of blogs, twitters and general discussion, such as this from Cloudave about how existing software developers couldn’t possibly leap the chasm from ‘traditional software’ to SaaS. Such views come from commentators who seem to feel that SaaS is so innovative, disruptive and different, and the traditional vendor so stuck in their ‘old ways’, that the transition cannot be made. Come on guys. Do you really think that the big software companies of today have not had to cope with radical technology changes before? CODA has been around for 30 years – we started developing accounting systems on the HP3000 (remember those? probably not…); then developed another accounting system from scratch for the Digital VAX; then again for the AS/400; then again for open, client/server platforms; and yet again for the zero client web browser technology.
Each of those steps required a radical change for us – new hardware, software tools, programing languages, approaches to development, testing, benchmarking, selling, supporting, marketing etc etc… We aren’t alone. SAP, Microsoft, Oracle have all been around for many years and have survived and thrived as technology and business paradigms (aargh… that overused word!) have changed… I’m not saying that adopting SaaS doesn’t represent a challenge and a change of mindset – it certainly does.
But just because a couple of ISVs have had hiccups in entering the SaaS world, don’t write off the whole established software industry. As with all areas of technology, some firms will make the transition easily, others will struggle or even fail. With CODA 2go we have adopted a proven, low-risk platform to develop on – Force.com – and our partnership with Salesforce.com has certainly helped us quickly to gain experience of the new approach needed in this market. So we’ve been able to make a rapid, smooth transition to address another technology market, whilst preserving our existing business and keeping staff and customers on board. There’s a lot to be said for experience, as my old grandad used to say!