Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Is This Just Another Fad?
I can think of two reasons why Office Live is here to stay:
Microsoft doesn’t venture into new territory without doing some
homework. Traditionally, even the Microsoft products that experienced
growing pains were tweaked relatively quickly.
In general, computer users are cheap. They want a lot of bang for their
bucks — whether it comes in hardware or software. As businesses
realize what Office Live can do for them — and get a look at the small price
tag — don’t be surprised if they turn to products like Office Live in
As long as the quality and reliability of SaaS solutions continues to improve,
the appeal of SaaS isn’t going to go away.
Will SaaS Make an ASP Out of Me?
Technology is confusing. Acronyms are confusing. When you combine the
two, it’s no wonder if your eyes start to spin faster than a Las Vegas slot
machine. If you do any research on SaaS you might come across the term
application service provider (ASP). SaaS and ASP are fairly similar approaches;
it’s easy to get them confused. But here’s the difference . . .
ASPs became popular in the 1980s and 1990s. These companies hosted
thirdparty, client-server applications. Basically, ASPs transferred a customer’s
applications and data into mini-data centers. Unfortunately, most ASPs didn’t
have much — if any — knowledge of the applications they were hosting so
customers still had to have in-house expertise to make sure the applications
were working properly correctly. The high cost of building and maintaining
data centers and running customer specific applications caused many ASPs
to shut down. That didn’t exactly bode well for prospective customers.
Rather than just hosting a customer’s application and data, the SaaS approach
(of which Office Live is a prime example) offers applications specifically
designed to be hosted over the Internet. Although each customer has his or her
specific data, all customers are basically using the same software. In addition,
the customer doesn’t have to buy the software and then pay for a provider to
host it. The customers can decide which people have access to specific
features, and can tweak the software via a Web interface to fit the needs of their
companies. An SaaS can generally be up and running very quickly — which
makes it a great alternative to both shrink-wrapped software and ASPs.