Software Plus Service (S+S) is a vision laid out by Microsoft a few years back and now being spoken loud in the communities world wide. Well! The time is just right for Enterprises to envision the value of S+S where the concept of 'Service' is being used largely in-lieu of software's/systems. Everyone is aware of the widely used jargon 'Saas', which is one of the ingredient in a S+S strategy. Am I just bragging too much on these terms 'S+S' & 'Saas'. Ok! Here we go…
Software as a Service (Saas) as all of us know is an approach of hosting software in the cloud (Internet) and rendering as a service. 'SalesForce.com' is a classic example of such an implementation which provides CRM services online with absolutely no software being present on the desktop. All one require is a browser (+internet connection) to navigate to the site to use the CRM software. This is a very compelling model but too ignorant of the reality. The model completely ignores the computing power on the desktop/device wherein the consumer operates and fails to address the following scenarios:
- Offline Computing
- Accessibility of Service/Data for occassionally connected systems
- Seamless End User Experience
- Collaborative Application Execution/Experience
On the other hand, S+S is Microsoft's approach is combining the best of software world with the best of services world to provide a seamless end user experience (by leveraging the power of a computing machine/device). S+S strategy, extends the philosophy of 'SaaS' and values the relevance of software on the desktop/device. The reality is that 'Software' forms an integral part of our lives(Desktop/Device). Let me quote an example here. 'Microsoft Outlook' is a classic example in the paradigm of S+S. Outlook is a piece of software that resides on an end users machine/device and leverages the service of Exchange(Server Component) on the cloud (can be on/off premise). Now 'Outlook' continues to offer the same experience to the end user irrespective of the connectivity to Exchange (Internet). We cannot imagine the world wherein you only have 'Webmail ' access, which is typically the strategy of 'Saas'.
Well! SaaS strategy sounds good & compelling, but is more of a 'Dream' than 'Reality'. S+S is the reality and is in vogue even today. Sooner or later, competition would funnel back to 'Reality'.