Defining everyday terms and sorting the difference between terms like S+S and SaaS, really is a battle of religions. But – however – Software+Services is a strategy that now iimplies to run every application through a browser (a rather dull experience in my mind), by embrace the marvel of using applications as an experience over many devices.
I would like to give a real example on why I am so found of the S+S business model. Just released (if you fell the bits and bytes – you would tell that they are still hot ;)), download the Wikipedia Explorer. Based on an Azure services, with and Windows Presentation Foundation client (WPF) – an really fun and exciting experience burst, when browsing through the libraries of Wikipedia. Go try for yourself – and realize the full potential of S+S.
From time to time I stumble on new ideas. Most of them are Software+Services related ideas, so I wish to share one now. Based on a given business need.
The Business Need
I recieve 15-20 international calls every week, both being business and friend contacting me from hotel room, international airport etc. My problem is that sometimes the international extention is pre-extended to known contacts phonenumbers, and sometimes new contact call me. My cellphone (a HTC DualTouch Windows Mobile) displays the (+33xxxxx, +1xxxxx, +68xxxx, +3392xxxxx) extensions, but how the h… can I remember where this is related to – country wise.
My need is to display from there the call ordinates.
I have a database of all international access code with country names. So the solution is quite simple. I need some developer to code an add-in (an extension API for TAPI) on the mobile phone, to display additional information as I recieve the call. This is a small service, where my phone will use a web service to get the country of ordination, and add this to the call history. Now I am able to see which country calling my cell.
You could think so what! And okay – please do. But this example is actually the real world software+services, and is an example of the variaty of services you could build to your stack of applications and devices.
Have fun 😉
Software-as-a-service has been commodity for a long period. Microsoft among other vendors is now forming relations and strategies on how applications will act and perform in the near future. For a long period Microsoft has been pushing ISV developers to develop and implement their applications as SmartClient applications. SmartClient applications are actually just small content-frame-holder (as known from the web world), with different services connected to it.
The enablement of this “mashup” is a great and very new approach to an application. A big change to the business model of this is the actual change in the price of an application. Many developers and ISVs have been purchasing components and resource libraries to “bundle” and use in their applications. These components are sold though redistribution agreements and customer license for usage – and not the source code.
In the future world, this will exactly be the same model, just with services connected to the application. Billing and support will change rapidly offering per-usage billing, not the complete price. So in the future you can actually earn money – when you don’t format you documents in Word 😉
Another good example is the connected and business benefits of the model. Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 within a hosted model, several add-ons exists in the “could”. Among these, that Business Card reader webservice, which converts your image-business cards into readable contact information – directly imported to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in the cloud. As you probably only want oné invoice, only need one support line, several considerations form around the model. But the general idea is now a reality.
Microsoft has released the Buffy Finder concept as an example, and launched Microsoft CSF Sandbox – a new version of the UDDI registry.
Update – 24.04.2008!
Microsoft Clearflow is another really good example on joining Microsoft Virtual Earth, Microsofts new traffic service and mobiltiy into one complete solution!