SAAS will open a whole new business opportunity for Indian companies and IT professionals because they offer a level playing field as compared to traditional ways of purchasing and deploying software, said Salesforce.com Law, Policy and Corporate Strategy Executive Vice-President Ken Juster, at a session on the ''Future of Software and its impact on Indian Companies, Developers and IT Service Providers, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today.
Within Salesforce.com's own universe of partners building applications, there has been over 100 million dollars in venture capital funding in the last 90 days, said Mr Juster.
India is already one of the biggest suppliers of IT brainpower.
SAAS will be an opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs and software developers to build software solutions and leverage the marketing and distribution strengths of established on-demand marketplaces, he said.
''The Business Web is truly a technology platform that enables Indians working on their own, to continue to take a leadership role in the information technology marketplace,'' he said.
The biggest challenge for Indian software developers is the commercialisation of their innovations. Salesforce.com is developing plans for initiating an incubation programme in India next year for SAAS companies. This programme would assist Indian entrepreneurs and developers in creating SAAS businesses.
''We would like to do this in cooperation with some of the major IT service providers and educational and training institutions in India,'' he said.
The Business Web also makes software more affordable for small and medium enterprises that lack the resources to invest in major software purchases, continuous upgrades and technically-qualified people to operate computers. It is a pay-as-you-go system, where users pay a monthly amount for the software that need, Mr Juster said.
It is possible to try the software and even customise it before buying the service, he said and added that SAAS is a multi-tenant system, where multiple companies have their own 'compartments' on a common server.
Within these compartments, they can customise the software at various levels depending on their needs. They do not need to get into software development. Whenever software is upgraded, all customers get the new package without losing their customisations.
SAAS offers high levels of security, reliability and performance.
Data on a multi-tenant system is more secure than with most internal corporate IT systems, said Mr Juster.
The Business Web, comprising SAAS, is written using open, web services standards and can be integrated with existing systems.
This, he said, overcomes one of the bugbears of all IT systems, where one software cannot 'talk' to another and administering multiple databases become a problem. With all these advantages, it is no longer seen as a down-market solution for the smaller systems.
Software-as-a-service has emerged with the growth of the Internet.
Well-known companies, such as Amazon.com, eBay, and Google, pioneered on-demand services in the consumer space. Customers can login, create accounts, modify settings and transact online. Each time they connect, the server 'remembers' their settings and they are presented with their own customised work-space.
The concept has now been taken further, to include the entire gamut of business applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and databases, in addition to email and file-sharing, said Mr Juster.
The meeting was chaired by NIIT Ltd Chief Operating Officer P Rajendran.
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