The verdict is in - 2009 officially the year of cloud computing

Ray Wang over at Altimeter just posted a great analysis of the financial performance of traditional vs. cloud computing based business applications companies in 2009. The bottom line - almost every one of the large on-premises vendors lost revenue year over year - with new license sales falling off a cliff. On the other hand, public SaaS vendors grew, led by SuccessFactors at nearly 40% YOY growth. Intacct, while not quite public yet, grew even faster.

Ray says: A review of last year’s financial performance should erase any doubts about the viability of SaaS as a deployment option and a business model.

The charts in his analysis are compelling. It's a quick read and a picture is indeed worth several thousand words. Check it out here.

Key Questions to Ask Cloud Computing Vendors

The very smart folks over at Diversity Analysis - have just completed a nice piece of work - Before You Buy, Ten Questions to Ask Your Cloud Vendor.

I think pretty highly of Ben Kepes, the principal at Diversity. He's got great ideas and a strong perspective on all things SaaS and Cloud Computing.

As those of you who read this blog know, cloud computing has tremendous benefits, but the process of evaluating cloud-based systems is a bit different than selecting on-premises software, since you need to evaluate not just the business fit of the software, but also the operations, business practices and culture of the vendor.

There is also quite a bit of mis-information about cloud computing-based applications percolating about, some of which is natural because it is new and different and some of which (like the idea that could-computing based systems can't be customized, the opposite of which is the truth) are being spread by the on-premises vendors to introduce fear, uncertainty and doubt and to slow the adoption of the cloud.

We liked the work that the Diversity Analysis folks are doing around cloud computing adoption, so we thought it made great sense for Intacct to support them in the writing of this report.

Whether you are a cloud computing vendor, VAR or a business thinking about adopting cloud computing, I'd encourage you to give it a read. The report lays out a number of things you should consider when evaluating cloud applications – and also addresses some of the common mis-perceptions about cloud computing that the folks from Diversity have seen out in the wild. The topics falls into several distinct groupings:

  • Business requirement questions
  • The reliability questions
  • The availability questions
  • The upgrades, maintenance and outages questions
  • The security questions
  • The privacy questions
  • The data ownership questions
  • The integration questions
  • The customization questions
I think they did a great job, and encourage you to read the report, which you can download for free here.