The big news in SAAS is that Google has released Google Sites, which is a collaboration tool similar in function to what Sharepoint does. This is a good piece of glue to add to Google Apps. To counter that Microsoft announced that it will be offering Hosted Office Live Workspace, namely Office, Exchange and Sharepoint. I have 2 points to make here.
One is the software itself. With NetSuite, Salesforce.com, Google and now Microsoft beating the SAAS buzzer, it will be easier to sell SAAS. Smaller players like HyperOffice will have to fill a niche to compete in this space. But like CRM, one size and vendor does not fit everyone. On my last count, there was over 25 hosted CRM solutions out there (not including resellers and VARs). So there is room for many collaboration suites like HyperOffice and ZoHo. I should probably mention that Zimbra is in this space as well. Itis owned by Yahoo and likely will be owned by Microsoft by year's end. (Where it will die a quick death).
Read/Write/Web has published what will likely be the most comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the two platforms, and draws the following conclusions: “Google Docs, although limited in its capabilities, offers real-time collaboration,” writes Sarah Perez. “Office Live Workspace, on the other hand, may not have the collaboration features of Google Docs, but the workspaces feature is unique. Plus, you have the capabilities of full-featured Office software available.” [shane from itworld.ca]
The good news is with Google and Microsoft trumpeting hosted apps, selling SAAS should get easier. There are lots of other collaboration tools out there. It truly depends on what the individual needs are. (I have used Wikis as a collaborative document / web page.)
There are Google Apps integrators who are popping up to help businesses use Google's applications. Presumably, Google Sites will become one more app for them to integrate.
It will be interesting to se if MS can supplant its revenues from selling shrink-wrapped software (i.e., Office licenses) with hosted revenue. One thing it does do is nullify the piracy problem.
Are you selling or using SAAS? Tell me about it. (Use comments or email at peter at rad-info dot net).