SAAS continues to smash on premise

Two software as a service announcements this week reveal the increasing depth of the on-demand model

SAAS (software as a service) continues its onslaught against traditional on-premise applications this week with two announcements that reveal the increasing depth of the on-demand model.

SuccessFactors, a SAAS performance and talent management solution vendor, launched Next Labs, a service that will allow its customers and subscribers to build and use online customized HR solutions, this week.

Not unlike Salesforce.com's AppExchange architecture, Next Labs will offer users a set of open APIs for mashups and for sharing user-created content across the enterprise.

The company is also offering 30 custom templates like a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) Goal Wizard for creating employee objectives using the SMART methodology, an Employee Directory for social networking and collaboration, and a Quick Cards template that will allow users to create electronic business cards to connect to other employees.

The company claims more than 2 million subscribers and 1,000 customers, three times as many subscribers and almost 25,000 fewer customers as Salsesforce.com due to the nature of the service, said Rob Bernshteyn, vice president of product marketing.

While CRM targets a specific category of employee -- salespeople and their managers -- SuccessFactors is a human resources service that touches and is used by every employee in the company, said Bernshteyn.

The company also has more than 46 clients with more than 10,000 users each. Salesforce has two clients, Cisco and Dell, with 15,000 subscribers.

Of course, the fee structure is different than that of Salesforce with the average fee being about US$40 to US$60 per employee per year rather than per month.

The Next Lab is available now.

If SuccessFactors is emblematic of how big SAAS can grow, the announcement this week from Kana Software showed off the increasing number of solutions that SAAS can touch in an enterprise.

Kana announced this week that it has taken its on-premise knowledge management system, Kana IQ, and re-created it for the SAAS model.

The inclusion of Kana IQ as a SAAS service now completes Kana's conversion from offering only an on-premise customer service suite to offering both on-premise and on-demand.

While the work on the back end for creating a knowledge management system does not decrease for IT, the delivery model will make ongoing IT support easier and give customer service representatives and customers using the self-service component more flexibility.

The Kana OnDemand suite is available immediately.

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