For this article I refer to Software as a Service (SaaS) as software primarily delivered through the browser, being free or with a pricing model based on a usage or a subscription. I don't make a distinction weather the application is build on a public, private, or whatever cloud, because nobody can see the difference, it's just software delivered through the browser.
The opportunity for hassle free solutions is seen by many and almost every day another cloud based SaaS solutions is launched. I observe and I'm spotting a difference between what I call old world and new world SaaS solutions. The new world stands for new products coming from young companies that primarily have been inspired by the developments in the consumer web and the old world stands for older existing businesses that in most cases already have many successful years on their belt. The difference between the two is very visible in the overall product design, launch and philosophy.
New World SaaS
- The e-commerce web site and product are tightly integrated.
- Focus is on benefits, based on customer quotes.
- Action buttons are everywhere.
- White the dominant color, lots of white space, large fonts and simple empty looking screens.
- Information is shown in small chunks, probably influence by mobile solutions.
- Simple, but efficient web architecture API based on JSON and OAuth for authentication.
- Design and lay-out inspired by Facebook and Google.
Old world SaaS
- The e-commerce web site and the product are usually two separate things.
- Focus in on features and tries to explain SaaS.
- Brags about technology.
- Many shades of gray, (too) small font and camped screens full with information.
- Tries to fit as much information as possible on a single screen.
- Complex, enterprise architecture API based on files or SOAP web services.
- Design and lay-out inspired by Windows.
These difference of course have no effect on the quality, performance and capabilities of the different products. It's just that the first category feels more innovative and the later category feels closer to the old and trusted desktop application.
Image: Paul Oka
Can you spot more differences, or is it just all nonsense. Leave a comment below.