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Tony Mobily's picture
By Tony Mobily
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 19:47

Why SaaS rocks -- or, thank you SaaS users

Why SaaS rocks -- or, thank you, SaaS users

There has been a visible decline in conventional software development, lately: the world seems to be moving towards SaaS, or Software As A Service. I don't even need to back this with statistics or reports: all you have to do, is see what most people do when they use a computer. Experts have explained this shift in a variety of ways (for example, it makes more economical sense now that there's the Internet, they are multi-platform, no installation required, etc.). However, I have a slightly unconventional take on this subject.

One of the reasons why SaaS is exploding, in my humble opinion, is because SaaS is fantastic. The reason why it's fantastic is simple: because programmers love working on it.

Let me go one step back.

In the world of conventional software development, customers are often seen as the devil. This is not always true, but there are so many horror stories in software development, one has to wonder. A colleague friend of mine used to say that the only time you are friends with your customers, is during the very first meeting with them and it's all down hill from there. If you asked him why, he'd tell you that customers often don't know what they want, or they know it way too well -- and want to tell you how to do it too. Then there are the usual stories about requirement changes, which are always welcome in an agile process, but can lead to disasters if the budget and completion dates are set. I have a personal story I am particularly fond of: it was 15 years ago, Dos 3.3 and Clipper were common, and I was working with Andrea Di Clemente (!) on a simple piece of software for insurance quotes. The customer, out of the blue during a meeting, asked for a seemly "simple" feature: a full-blown spreadsheet embedded in the software he was writing ("you have cells in a square, you add things up... easy!" were his words). I have to say, not every customer is like this. I Sometimes, you get some fantastic customers and have genuine fun working with them -- I have had several of them; one of them has even turned into a long-term friendship. So, even some people's view is definitely on the grim side, and customers might not always all be all that bad, I have to agree that meeting a new customer can be seen as a work-lottery.

Enter the world of SaaS. And, from a programmer's perspective, it's like being in heaven. Customers (that's "you" from now on) love the work we do. You tell us quickly if there is a problem, and thank us profusely when we look into it immediately and fix it. When we roll out new features, you write about it enthusiastically. When you send us requests, and we develop them, you say "thank you" in the most grateful way. When you send us requests, and we basically knock them back, you seem to be always understanding of our reasons. When we reply to our emails, you seem to be impressed by this fact alone. When there is a fire in our data centre, you tweet us questions about our safety before asking when the software will be back up. More importantly, you talk to us showing love towards our software. When we develop Apollo, we do so expecting a small flood of thanks and encouraging words. If a customer is not happy, he can simply use a different product -- and still be happy!

I am sure SaaS would have taken over the world even if it had to be developed standing upside down, without food nor water. The world needed it, and there would have been people willing to do it (maybe not me!). However, I believe that the reason why SaaS is exploding is simply because it rocks, and it rocks because programming it gives you a feeling of creating something great for great people.

I guess this blog entry is for you: if you are one of the thousands of people out there who said "thank you", who helped us suggesting a feature or reporting a bug, who helped us spread the word, well, this is our "thank you". Thank you for your enthusiasm, trust, help, and good vibes.

3 comments so far

Sam Kidd's picture

Sam Kidd

Mon, 06/27/2011 - 19:48


Couldn't agree with you anymore. SaaS is the dogs dangly bits.
And it's true, we like our customers way more as well :-)

Tony Mobily's picture

Tony Mobily

Mon, 06/27/2011 - 19:49


Hi Sam,

It's a small world :D Thank you for hopping by, love your work! :D


Ulrich Egouy's picture

Ulrich Egouy

Sat, 07/02/2011 - 01:59


+1, SaaS is the way to go!