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SaaS and SOA: Together Forever

If you want a flexible and scalable software-as-a-service partner, look no further than the solid pedigree of service-oriented architecture. We explore the relationship between SaaS and SOA, two emerging approaches for delivering IT functionality, applications and end-to-end business processes.

Philippe Vincent, Partner
Electronics and High-Tech Strategy
Accenture

You described SaaS as a disruptor in the Accenture report "The Future of Software." In what areas will SaaS disrupt most quickly? A lot of the applications that were born in the client-server model are going to be good candidates for SaaS because they were built with the same paradigm in mind; they were designed to be available to many, many end users.

The whole CRM space is obviously quite attractive for the SaaS model, whether it is sales force automation, customer service automation or marketing automation. Big, cross- enterprise, transaction-intensive applications like ERP are not as well-suited to the approach. On the other hand, a close adjunct to ERP is the HR management world, and you can do a great deal of that in a SaaS model. It's notable that ADP recently announced its intention to buy Employease, [an on-demand HR systems and benefits administration vendor].

You encourage would-be SaaS vendors to embrace SOA, but what's your advice to enterprises? We are recommending very strongly that enterprises take the same view and use SOA to take IT to the next level. SOA is not about sexy new applications. The difference is in the way you produce applications and the speed in which you produce them. It's not a product innovation; it's production innovation. It's the blueprint for a new production paradigm for applications, and that blueprint was first adopted by the leading SaaS vendors.

Application Management