Our company has been delivering Software as a Service (SaaS) since we were founded in 2000. At that time what we did was generally described as Application Service Provider (ASP). The latest iteration incorporates the more ethereal sounding ‘cloud computing’ reference. Whatever term you use the functionality consists of accessing software via the Internet rather than from your local computer or server. So, is this an effective way to acquire and use software applications?
In his recent report titled Construction Software State of the Industry Report, Don Fornes who is the CEO of Software Advice concludes that “Software as a Service is in the right place at the right time”. In the report he says, “Software as a Service is gaining momentum in many software markets. In fact, we would agree with other IT prognosticators that SaaS is a major structural shift in software deployment and is here to stay. We’ve seen this model succeed in the project management segment where there is a clear need for the collaborative benefits of web-based software. Moreover, the current recession is making the SaaS model more attractive to contractors because:
- Subscription pricing can easily be added to a project’s general conditions;
- Low up-front costs allow project managers to avoid an onerous approval process; and,
- Faster and less expensive implementation makes the new systems more digestible.
We have not seen much demand for SaaS accounting, estimating or service management, although we do get asked about it now and then. We also have not seen many vendors emerge to deliver that sort of solution. We would not be surprised to see SaaS accounting and/or estimating solutions emerge over the next few years.”
As a company that has been significantly ahead of the wave on this method of delivering useful functionality to the construction industry for many years we can easily agree with Mr. Fornes statements. We already deliver powerful solutions for the estimating community and are experiencing significant interest in some of the latest functionality we deliver online including planrooms, document control, onscreen takeoff, online bid submission and submittal management. The industry trend is definitely moving towards increased use of SaaS.