Thursday, 29 November 2007 15:40

No SaaS without local software says Microsoft director

Gianpaola Carraro, Director, Architecture Strategy at Microsoft, used to be known as the Director of SaaS Architecture. However, with online competitors such as Google looming in the office productivity space, pure SaaS is now an uncomfortable concept at Microsoft, the bastion of desktop software.

These days, Microsoft and Mr Carraro prefer to talk about Software + Services or S+S. Mr Carraro insists that SaaS is merely a subset of S+S and a pure browser based service cannot provide a complete solution on its own.

“Software + Services embraces SaaS but goes beyond it,” Mr Carraro told iTWire. “You can think of those two as concentric circles where SaaS is one aspect of Software + Services.

“It is very important to realize that while we are working on SaaS that there are some areas that require elements that go beyond what the industry has referred to as software as a service.

“The combination of local software with SaaS offerings is critical for the realization of many opportunities in the market.

“I strongly believe that a browser only software as a service sort of pure model does not go far enough. It’s good to embrace this model but it’s not sufficient.”

And why is SaaS not sufficient in Microsoft’s view?

“Taking advantage of offline capabilities, realizing that some enterprises due to regulatory compliance or privacy concerns cannot move their data outside of their premises, made us clear it’s only the combination of local software and SaaS that will prevail in the market and in industry,” says Mr Carraro.

According to Mr Carraro, the fact that some SaaS providers are including local storage and editing options with their service offerings is vindication of Microsoft’s S+S strategy.

“We see that as a welcome move that reinforces our vision that it is critical to accept a model that includes local software. And we are seeing some pure SaaS companies also moving in that direction.

“They started with a pure browser only model and they’re augmenting it with offline capability.”

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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