Gartner predicts that SaaS could become a $19.3 billion market by the end of 2011, according to a recent Computerworld article. Gartner also reports that SaaS reached $6.3 billion by the end of last year.
Big numbers. Big money.
As I shared yesterday, organizations that have embraced multiple SaaS solutions are experiencing integration problems. One of the options for resolving this problem is to move to a service-oriented architecture. But that solution is still some ways off as most organizations are still in the planning or early implementation stages of SOA.
The question then becomes: How well will SaaS work with SOA?
The answer, fortunately, seems to be: very well, indeed. Particularly when you add Web 2.0 technologies, which can help address the data integration problems that SOA doesn't touch.
Robert Schneider wrote a fantastic article, "SaaS, Composite Applications and SOA: Understanding their Differences and Making Them Work Together." In it, he explains how they can work together to make work life much easier and simpler for IT and business users.
Here's what Schneider had to say about SaaS vendors and SOA:
From an SOA perspective, what makes SaaS so interesting is that, by and large, these vendors "get it": their offerings are much more SOA-friendly, and often comply with many of its best practice guidelines. Of course, there are some horrendous exceptions to the rule, but SOAP-based, WSDL-defined services have become the de-facto standard for integration with SaaS solutions. Many SaaS vendors also understand the value of composite applications, and are only too happy to facilitate deploying these user interface-based integration components.
The seven-page article walks you through a hypothetical company that runs a SaaS CRM system and how IT uses SOA and mashups to give customer service reps access to billing history from within the CRM system. In effect, the mashup - a Web 2.0 technology - gives the appearance that IT has integrated the data into the SaaS CRM system without actually allowing critical financial data to leave the company.
SaaS vendors aren't blind to the potential benefits of SOA and mashups to extend their reach, as this recent article on E-Commerce Times explains. The article uses Salesforce.com as an example.
Salesforce recently updated its Apex code to allow companies to build their own on-demand applications. The company is calling this Salesforce SOA and has implied it's SOA as a service - a marketing strategy that makes SOA architects hiss with anger, since they argue, with good reason, that you can't "subscribe" to an architecture. Developers can tap Web services and use them to build on-demand applications.
To get this functionality, you subscribe to the Salesforce Platform Edition, which allows you run to these on-demand apps on Salesforce.com's servers.
By the way, the ECT article was part one, implying there will be at least a second article on SOA and SaaS. Part one appeared in the E-Commerce Times on Friday - my guess is part two will run this Friday.
As for the Web 2.0 connection to SOA, this is still being hashed out. Web 2.0 is still in its early stages, but Gartner predicts that by 2011, 63 percent of products in the software infrastructure market and 56 percent in the software application market will support Web services and Web 2.0 technologies, according to the Computerworld article mentioned earlier.
As Sean Rhody, founding editor and editor-in-chief of SOA World Magazine, pointed out recently on SYS-CON Linux, you can do SOA without Web 2.0. And you can do Web 2.0 without SOA. But should you? One reason vendors and developers may want to marry the two is simply that SOA doesn't offer a user interface beyond the browser and Rhody contends that Web 2.0 and Ajax could lead to a better user interface for SOA applications.