When IT Business Edge spoke recently to software-as-a-service expert Jeff Kaplan about his recent research that showed interest levels in SaaS are rising, he hinted at some of the findings that will likely be highlighted in forthcoming studies.
One such finding, says Kaplan, is that SaaS vendors will produce more vertical offerings in an effort to give customers solutions that are more closely aligned with their business needs.
Salesforce.com's latest product announcement seems to fit right into this sweet spot. Beginning this month, it will offer an application aimed at brokerages that combines its usual CRM features with financial market data from sources like Thomson Financial and Dow Jones.
In an effort to compete with a highly popular Bloomberg hardware/software tool that feeds real-time financial data to traders, Salesforce is undercutting Bloomberg by $1,000 on the monthly charge for its service.
That may not be enough, opines this SeekingAlpha columnist, who notes that the first customer for the new Salesforce service, Merrill Lynch, is keeping the Bloomberg service as well.
It will be interesting to see how the introduction of more vertical SaaS solutions affects overall user satisfaction with SaaS, which Kaplan's research shows declined from 90 percent to 80 percent from 2005 to 2006.
The drop is not entirely unexpected, notes Kaplan, as users often have unrealistic expectations in new and fast-growing markets like SaaS. And an influx of new vendors can result in less consistent service levels.