Yet despite the big customer wins for Rearden, Salesforce, Employease, and others, SaaS so far is primarily an SMB phenomenon. And that’s fine with IBM, Clark says. “The fastest growing segments are the midmarket and we need to be there with bells on. We need to be there with a play that has a way to roll up or aggregate a lot of the value from these smaller applications into something that we can then in turn offer to our clients and customers, especially in the SMB space.”
The ultimate disruptive effect of the “services wave” may well resemble that of the dot-com era, when companies that were smart about leveraging the Web exploited unforeseen growth opportunities. As the viral growth of Web 2.0 mash-ups and walled gardens like AppExchange make clear, every true SaaS application is potentially part of an XML-driven ecosystem. The SMBs that figure out how to tap into the power of those ecosystems could become the enterprises of tomorrow.
Read more about applications in InfoWorld's Applications Channel.