Strategy for Information Markets/Software as a service< Strategy for Information Markets
Software as a Service or SaaS is sometimes referred to as On-Demand software.SaaS can be traced all the way back to the 1960s. IBM and other companies engaged in ways to automate certain business aspects. This started first with was data storage and computation or Utility Computing, which began as a metered service. This led to the development of On-Demand software. IBM is still in the On-Demand software business and it is estimated they will spend $10 billion a year on delivering and providing these software services. 
SaaS has come a long way and is constantly changing and new companies and features are popping up everywhere. With the evolution of SaaS it is possible to do things at home or from any computer. You can now do your taxes with the help of software such as TurboTax and QuickBooks without having to go down the street to an H&R block or other firm. It is also possible for organizations such as restaurants to schedule employees and host training materials online with tools like WhenToManage. On the side of Customer Relationship Management firms could use tools such as Salesforce to schedule appointments and store important information. SaaS is changing the way the world does business.
With On-Demand software or Software as a Service a lot can be said for having extra help with running your business. The ability to have a software solution to handle issues that will cause businesses and individuals with headaches will alleviate pressures on employees and help businesses run more smoothly, effectively, and efficiently. There are many solutions out there for businesses that allow them to be more efficient. The explosion of smart phones and the app market has only helped this case. There are now apps people can have on their phone that help them deal with things such as personal finance, interview preparation, file storage, and many others. Applications like these help people keep track of purchases and bill paying bringing order to many peoples cluttered and hectic lives.
SaaS allows for:
- Easier Administration
- Time Savings
- Easier Collaboration
- Easier Accessibility
There are many different types of software that fall under this category. Here are a few examples:
- Customer Relationship Management
Software as a Service is saving people and businesses time by automating things and providing tools to get things done. Take Salesforce for example, Salesforce announced in 2007 that it would now provide a platform for Financial Advisors. While working with many partners Salssforce was able to redefine how a Financial Advisor goes about everyday business. Merrill Lynch started using Salesforce software to help the company better manage clients. Salesforce allows them to put in client information including, notes on a Financial Advisor's last visit or talk with a client. Other things can also include a clients birthday as well as reminders to call the client for follow up meetings or discussions. Salesforce also allows them to bring up the clients information profile page when receiving a call from that client. Salesforce completely revamped financial services applications. Salesforce gives Financial Advisors everything they need in one place. This software will allow them to know their client better by having information about the client readily available. It also has plans of action for clients and has storage of specific goals by client so the Advisor can go into their page and know where they stand with each client. It allows teams to all have access to their own client’s information. This is helpful in many ways. When someone is out of the office and a client calls a team member can go into the system and have all the client information there. This helps big companies when clients work with specific people. Having Salesforce also eliminates a lot of paper from the workplace. Files are still kept for records but everything can be automated and put into Salesforce. This helps cut more time out of the equation and time savings is money savings. 
- Accounting and Taxes
TurboTax simplifies many things about how people file their taxes, an individual 30 or 40 years ago would have to certainly go to an accounting firm or accountant to file their taxes and fill out forms. They would pay for this service and in many cases waste time preparing things for the accountant. Now we have services such as TurboTax and QuickBooks that can do these things for you. You pay for the software and can now, from your home computer, enter everything from your employers W-2 form and follow an easy step by step process to file your taxes. It takes very little time and effort and you can file your taxes online from your house without having to mail anything in.Every year people dread doing their tax returns, they have to go to a professional, in some cases they charge too much and the process is too complicated. TurboTax simplifies this by offering specific deductions and having a step by step guide with all of the information a user needs to file their taxes. There are many deductions people can take advantage of if they qualify. TurboTax will ask questions of you and based on how you answer it determines if you qualify for a deduction of that type. TurboTax even has a section for good will donations where you can type in what you gave away, say clothing for example, and it estimates a price for you. You can type in what clothes you gave away for instance a pair of pants, you then enter the condition of the pants and it comes up with a price figure for your contribution.
- Administrative and Scheduling
WhenToManage software is made for the restaurant industry. It includes a cost saving and time saving way to put all the restaurants essentials in one place. In terms of scheduling WhenToManage allows for the managers and employees to take everything online. Managers and employees will each have login accounts for WhenToManage and managers can post schedules and also send time off requests to managers. A message can be sent out to notify all employees of their new schedule thus eliminating the need to go check the schedule or to swing by the restaurant to check when you are working. This software also allows employers to put up training and informational manuals for employees to have at their disposal. Instead of going into the store to pick up a physical copy or ask questions about different aspects of their job everything is online and readily accessible.  Many companies such as Del Friscos Restaurant Group have implemented this software. Del Friscos Restaurant Group has over 161 restaurants in the union and has benefited from having a way to track everything happening at all their restaurants. As a national chain it was hard to monitor financial figures on every store but implementing WhenToManage changed all of that. As a national company this helps them to keep track of everything easier and when going from store to store it allows for uniformity. According to research done by the Iternational Data Corporation employees spend on average over a quarter of their time looking for information and they only find what they are looking for half the time. Del Friscos Restaurant Group benefits greatly from having WhenToManage software. Information is now more readily available and less time is wasted. 
These are just a couple of examples of how Software as a Service is revolutionizing the way we do things. It provides a time and in many ways a cost saving. Time is a valuable commodity and many companies are developing SaaS that can save people and businesses a lot of time and energy.
Market for SaaSEdit
Technology companies who have realized the potential for automating certain aspects of business are now benefiting from it. Starting in the 1960s with IBM firms have looked toward computing for business solutions. Now there are many firms in the market for Software as a Service. Market leaders such as Netsuite are profiting off of offering businesses services which have never existed before the technology and computing era. Microsoft did not take advantage of offering Software as a Service in many categories and has since paid for it. The success of smaller firms such as Intact, Netsuite, and Salesforce has hurt Microsoft as they are not a part of the SaaS market. Microsoft has fallen behind on SaaS as other smaller companies have taken market share right from under its feet. Microsoft has many software applications, typically sold in a bundle. This business does not have a large exposure in commercials but presentations are made every day to businesses offering them On-Demand software solutions. Between restaurants having SaaS has given them a competitive advantage and has streamlined the business. This can also be said for small businesses who have implemented software to reduce the amount of work or people they need to spend money on.
Software as a Service has created a new market which, in the last ten years alone has ballooned in size. SaaS has created a new market which has positive economic benefits. In terms of networks more users will benefit from the existence of these services. This is true for all of On-Demand software. Companies also benefit from more users of their product. The existence of software such as WhenToManage, mentioned above, will allow companies to save money and streamline the ways that they make money. Salesforce will allow companies a competitive advantage in managing client relationships through having everything at their fingertips. This will allow Financial Advisors to take on more clients and increase their bottom line through expanding clientele and money managed.
TurboTax will have slightly different implications. Companies such as H&R Block are now forced to compete with a product that does not require a user or consumer to go to a physical location and sit down with a tax consultant. H&R Block has come out with its own software and continues to compete for market share in the market for personal tax returns.
It is expected that in the long term SaaS will be even more competitive as many technology and software companies will take advantage of a new way to make money by streamlining business operations. This industry will be more competitive because in the long term the cost of owning a particular software solution will increase. This increase will cause companies to compete in terms of prices and services offered. If users and businesses are billed at a flat rate it will be different than if they are paid per use and so on. Companies enjoy supply chain economies of scale by having copies upon copies of each product for nothing. They will also enjoy smaller costs associated with upkeep of their product. 
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- Fan, M, S Kumar, and A.B Whinston. "Short-term and Long-Term Competition between Providers of Shrink-Wrap Software and Software As a Service." European Journal of Operational Research. 196.2 (2009): 661-671. Print.