By Andrea Wörrlein, Managing Director of VNC GmbH, Berlin, Germany, and Member of the Board of VNC AG, Zug, Switzerland
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a fine thing. For many users, it’s the perfect solution. But for everyone? Definitely not! However, more and more software vendors are pretending that SaaS is the only way to do it, leaving users no choice: either SaaS or nothing. The most recent example is Atlassian. The provider of solutions for software developers has announced that it will discontinue sales, service and support of on-premise versions of globally valued and popular products such as Bamboo Server or Jira Core Server in 2024. Atlassian is the last link in a chain of software vendors that are committed to a single delivery channel for their service offerings – forcing their customers into the SaaS world.
The question of “why?” is only answered by the often enlightening counter-question: “Cui bono?” So who benefits from this commitment to a single usage format? Certainly not the customers, because this development ignores their needs. Why should they commit themselves to a single usage format, why should they be forced to choose SaaS? There are no good reasons – on the contrary, customers want diversity and freedom of choice, not a dictatorship. This applies to products and services just as much as to the respective usage format, to the technical solution approaches just as much as to the economic aspects. Private cloud, public cloud or hybrid IT? Purchase, rent or subscription? Opex or Capex? These are not questions of faith, but are usually the result of meticulous calculation, depending on the specific objectives and specifications.
This worrying development is rather the confirmation of the often and diligently dismissed, but increasingly justified fears that have been driving both IT customers and IT service providers since the triumphant advance of the cloud: the increase in dependency, the elimination of indirect sales partners and the expansion of additional business with customer data directly with the software provider. The elimination of on-premise versions can also save investments in indirect sales channels and reduce personnel and financial expenses for support resources. Good for the balance sheets. Beyond all the full-bodied efficiency and convenience arguments, these are precisely the motivations for dogmatists who no longer want to accept any other usage options besides SaaS.
The answer to the counter-question posed above is therefore simple: “SaaS only” harms customers and IT service providers; it benefits software providers who want to reduce their service costs and secure exclusive access to customer data. Will users accept this in the long term? It would not be the first time that customer wishes and interests have proven to be stronger than the business games of marketing strategists.
VNC – Virtual Network Consult AG, based in Switzerland, Germany and India, is a leading developer of open source-based enterprise applications and positions itself as an open and secure alternative to the established software giants. With VNClagoon, the organization with its global open source developer community has created an integrated product suite for enterprises, characterized by high security, state-of-the-art technology and low TCO. VNC’s customers include system integrators and telcos as well as large enterprises and institutions. Further information: https://vnclagoon.com
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