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SaaS Early Adopters & Mainstreamers

As head of a professional services practice for information management software company back in 1998, I distinctly remember having a 'discussion' with the then CEO about how great it would be if we didn't have to install and support our software on our customers site. I said 'why don't we host it here, it will save a lot of costs and hassle', he said - commercially - it will never catch on.

Well, ten years later and I think we are starting to see that SaaS, via ASP on the way, is rapidly approaching mainstream. Indeed, it can be said that the last down turn in 2002/3, really help SaaS get a foothold, so I can image that our current economic woes will finally push this model fully into the mainstream.

For early adopters the explosion of web apps and SaaS offerings is like a kid in a candy shop - truly amazing, but one that can get overwhelming. I confess to spending too much time finding, playing, and lusting for 'the next one'. Whilst natural selection will happen, low barriers to entry will always mean that the early adopter community will be able to satisfy their cravings for a long time to come.

Classically, Geoffrey Moore's, Crossing the Chasm, speaks to the jump that technology must make from early adopter to mainstream. The metaphor of the chasm is apt since there can be quite a difficult gap to get across. A significant factor in this is due to the different personalities of early adopters and there mainstream brethren - Mars and Venus style.

The blueprint to crossing the chasm includes getting your product to smell, taste, and be mainstream. A term used in this vocabulary is 'whole product'. This is when you have all the other pieces of what the customer actually needs nicely packaged and ready i.e. services, support, training, and reference implications. Absence of these for early adopters is not a problem, but it is a warning sign for those risk adversed mainstreamers.

So, one could conclude that SaaS needs to understand these principles and apply them - could arguably be following this plan. Different delivery model, but essentially the same gig.

However, maybe the mainstreamers of today and tomorrow, are evolving and have more early adaptor traits than we might think. I'm betting that we need a new category of adoption, one that fits better our present age. Of course this isn't a new topic Alex Iskold blog Rethinking 'Crossing the Chasm' cira 2007, makes similar and more points along the same lines.

I'll be exploring this theme more. Angles on this include following some aspects of the classic approach to going mainstream, questioning if some aspects are less applicable these days, or even if you need to go mainstream at all.



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Reader Comments (3)


You provide us a very useful info about to the SaaS Early Adopters & Mainstreamers,
I think SaaS service is very helpful for the software users.according to the web defination,A software delivery model in which a software firm provides daily technical operation, maintenance, and support for the software provided to their. Web Design Quote.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWeb Design Quote

"ten years later and I think we are starting to see that SaaS, via ASP on the way, is rapidly approaching mainstream."

SaaS has definately crossed the chasm and hit the main street. I don't know of any technology company that doesn't use at least a single instance of some SaaS system like Zendesk or Frontdesk SEO.

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSendsider

Saas is the best service.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDylan Tewes

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