Silly SaaS

In his weekly InfoWorld column this week, Ephraim Schwartz invokes yet another acronym — SaaS, or Software as a Service. He discusses how products modeled after are moving beyond the salesforce to invade other parts of the enterprise. But this post is not to agree with Mr. Schwartz but to berate his (and the industry’s) over-use of acronyms and, in this case, the bare-faced cheek of putting lipstick on a pig that’s grown more attractive over the years, e.g. application service providers (ASP). For that is what SaaS is — nothing more, nothing less — and coiffuring the pig doesn’t make it any less of a pig. The passage of time might have made it a less unattractive pig, but that doesn’t change the fact that it has an ugly-pig-past. Mr. Schwartz is often a bellwether of future trends; his latest article exemplifies two habits that the IT industry needs to break:

  1. Generating acronyms like it’s going out of fashion, and
  2. Overhyping the technology-of-the-moment and then later trying to hide the fact by giving it a new name when, inevitably, the same idea comes to the fore once more.

It’s like Gator renaming itself Claria.  It’s still the same software doing the same things it’s always done (Gator was labeled ‘spyware’ plenty of times in its past; see the latest Wired magazine for an article on this), but because it’s now promoted as ‘adware’ we’re supposed to think that’s okay? As Bertie Wooster might say, “Piffle!” It’s a once-ugly-pig, and you should beware the idea of kissing it as much as you did when you were first introduced.