SaaS Summit 2008

It’s the final day of the SaaS Summit in San Francisco for me and Jerry Fain (VP of Services). The conference has had some highs and lows. The highs are, of course, the fact that what is assumed to be mainstream methods for doing business on the web, Bullhorn was pioneering nearly 8 years ago. The conference is packed with entrepreneurs trying to get a slice of the rapidly expanding SaaS pie. The themes of the conference are several: “Cloud Computing”, “SaaS Platforms”,”Mashups”. There is an aggressive move to “zero footprint development,” which means you can start your SaaS business and outsource 100% of your infrastructure and your platform. Even though Bullhorn has invested heavily in its own infrastructure, we will be incrementally adopting these new technologies where they make sense for our business. With Mashups and CloudComp Bullhorn will be able to innovate at an even faster clip since we will be able to adopt technologies from across the web, not just ones that we cook up in house.

The lows are the degree to which the legacy software vendors are trying to spin their existing technologies as part of this SaaS revolution. The Microsoft presenter shilled for every single Microsoft product as having some part to play in the SaaS movement. Everything from Vista to Word to the XBOX is proof of Microsoft’s leadership in SaaS. I could hardly suppress my disappointment in this presentation as it exposed how tone-deaf Microsoft has become. Both Oracle and IBM were also in this camp as they tried to include hosting Websphere or Oracle in the SaaS category. These guys are increasingly less relevant since they are providing specific toolsets but not highly evolved business platforms. Bullhorn and SalesForce provide SaaS platforms that are attracting the most customers and developers. For sure these legacy companies will be selling a lot of software over the next few years. But it is obvious to me the the best business and technical minds are migrating to pure SaaS and Bullhorn has been here since 2000.

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