By some accounts, SaaS has awakened EMC (and other storage hardware vendors like Sun) to the revenue potential of software. The truth is, when storage hardware became a commodity game almost 10 years ago, EMC and the other large storage players began a frantic search for software-based products. It reached its apotheosis a few years ago when EMC spent billions to acquire VMware, Documentum, and nearly a dozen other software complements to EMC's disk and array business.
And done right, services can be a huge cash cow, as IBM has demonstrated for years. EMC has made it a stated goal to derive more revenue from services for some time now. Art Coviello, head of EMC security unit RSA, said a year ago that his division would be working closely with EMC to sell authentication, security management, and other synergistic offerings.
Recall that Microsoft a couple years ago also got squarely behind SaaS, and seemed to find a helpful advocate in the form of consultant Jeff Kaplan. Kaplan's still at it, and in fact makes some pretty good points about the overall benefits of the rent-don't-buy concept (not Microsoft's particular implementation of it).
And after all of today's many interesting economic developments, EMC and others may get to test Kaplan's theory that services are recession-proof. While an economic contraction doesn't mean that every managed service provider will collapse, it's likely to create quite a shakeout.
And that will be my accountant's cue to say, "I told you so."