Wednesday, December 26

The Next “Software as a Service” Giant

By The VAR Guy

The VAR Guy was on the outside looking in when NetSuite launched its initial public offering a few days ago. Too bad. Netsuite’s stock skyrocketed as investors went crazy for the software-as-a-service (SaaS) specialist. So, which company will cash in next on the SaaS craze? The VAR Guy has a surprising answer…

The biggest SaaS beneficiary in 2008 could be Symantec — assuming the security and storage company finally has its act together.

Symantec has repeatedly disappointed investors and channel partners since acquiring Veritas in July 2005. Hit-and-miss financial results have wounded investors. And a botched ERP (enterprise resource planning) project in November 2006 caused extended problems with Symantec’s online ordering systems — angering partners for multiple months.

Symantec apologized for the problems in June 2007 and has worked overtime to regain partners’ trust. More recently, the company has been working overtime to polish its managed services and SaaS strategies.

So, why is The VAR Guy upbeat about Symantec in 2008? Glad you asked. For starters, the company is launching the Symantec Protection Network. Sure, it has been slightly delayed, but SPN should be online in January or so.

Whether you consider SPN a managed service or a SaaS system doesn’t matter. More importantly, it’s a platform that will generate recurring revenue for Symantec and its partners. SPN will initially focus on storage, with security services expected to arrive sometime later in 2008.

Storage and Security. That’s a dynamite combination in the SaaS industry. Small, mid-size and large organizations are all seeking online storage and security solutions. SPN caters to smaller businesses, with Symantec promoting the service through VARs and integrators.

Assuming SPN launches without any major glitches sometime in the next few weeks, Symantec could be poised to establish itself as the next SaaS giant.



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