An interesting conference – somewhat competing with Saascon in San Francisco. While Saascon was directed to SaaS End Consumer and bringing SaaS closer to the broader public, “OnDemand” was a conference for industry leaders discussing the future of SaaS.

The first few presentations reflected the clear trends and expectations that SaaS is going mainstream and many speakers and panelists predicted that SaaS will replace many on premise applications in the next few years. However some on premise applications like global large scale ERP implementations will remain behind the firewall for quite some years. An analogy was drawn to the 80’s when PCs replaced terminals – yet today – 25 years later – mainframes and even terminals are still in business. The SaaS future seems to be in the hands of the new generation software companies who are built for SaaS from ground up. Discussions made obvious that companies who need to change from a license product business to an on-demand model will have a very hard time. While some predict that most license software companies will fail to make the move, others put the example of Concur up, who successfully made that transition in a two year effort.

An interestingly large portion of the conversation on the podium and on the floor was around indirect channels. While sales organizations are not large enough and marketing budgets are limited, SaaS vendors need to find ways to attract partners to spread the word and help implement their solutions. Some companies present their successes with channels.

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