3 Comments

Summary:

Microsoft this week rolled out its CampaignReady suite of services, anchored by the Windows Azure-hosted TownHall. Especially for local or regional campaigns without the resources to build specialized tools, Microsoft’s pitch should be appealing. But Microsoft’s SaaS-plus-PaaS business model has legs beyond politics, and beyond Redmond.

Microsoft this week rolled out its CampaignReady suite of services, which is anchored by the Windows Azure-hosted TownHall. Designed for political campaigns, the suite works by letting candidates connect with constituents via TownHall, while Microsoft’s online collaboration and advertising tools help campaign workers communicate with each other and spread their messages. Especially for local or regional campaigns without the resources to build the specialized tools President Obama’s utilized, Microsoft’s pitch — a prepackaged solution that can be set up, torn down and paid for on demand — should be appealing. But Microsoft’s SaaS-plus-PaaS business model has legs beyond politics, and beyond Redmond.

As I describe in my column this week at GigaOM Pro, the combination of cloud services designed for and hosted on cloud platforms seems like a surefire strategy to secure PaaS (or even IaaS) adoption. By creating targeted applications designed specifically for use on their platforms, cloud providers can increase the likelihood of bringing customers into the fold (and can increase their profit margins) by letting applications help sell the platform instead of relying on the platform itself.

The possibilities are perhaps best exemplified by the number of Salesforce.com customers using its flagship CRM offering, which sits atop its Force.com platform — more than 72,000, according to the company. Presumably, it was positive experiences with the SaaS application that inspired 200,000-plus developers to build more than 135,000 custom applications that run on Force.com. It’s possible that Force.com could have attracted an equally large base as a standalone offering not intrinsically connected with Salesforce.com’s SaaS business, but unlikely.

The issue for most cloud providers is figuring out how to develop an application strategy to complement their infrastructural competencies. Microsoft, on the other hand, brought its decades of software experience with it when it launched Windows Azure. It developed its Pinpoint marketplace of third-party applications ready to run on the platform, it partnered with business-friendly ISVs like Intuit, and now it’s gotten into the SaaS act itself with TownHall. Azure has garnered its fair share of praise, and if Microsoft continues down the SaaS path, Azure could garner more than its fair share of customers and dollars. Read the full post here.

For more on cloud computing, join the GigaOM Network at its annual Structure conference June 23 & 24th in San Francisco.

Image courtesy of Janet Wall via PhotoExpress

  1. The real question is if Microsoft is the right company for SaaS, PaaS, IaaS or any other aaS! Transition from desktop to cloud will be very difficult for Microsoft!

    Share
    1. I am not too sure that Microsoft has been too agile as re. embracing SaaS at the moment.
      Their consumer services like XBox Live and Windows Live notwithstanding, they still remain a primarily desktop-centric company.
      2010 seems like a big year for them. Windows Azure, WP7, W7, Office 2010, VS2010 and so on. Lets see if they can transition to cloud services in the enterprise domain as well. I for one, remain very confident that Microsoft will make this transition well, although its far from evident if they’ll hold on to their dominant market share in so many areas of enterprise computing.

      Share
  2. This is very interesting. I wasn’t aware that Microsoft was doing this when I wrote my blog (http://blog.bitzesty.com/saas-opening-up-new-opportunities-for-busines), but it does support my message that SaaS is becoming increasingly established as a viable option for businesses.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post