While we are on the subject of Software as a Service (SaaS), I almost forgot to mention that last month the Business Intelligence SIG heard a entrancing presentation from Axel Schultze, CEO of BlueRoads Corporation.
BlueRoads is a software service that does Partner Relationship Management (PRM). Basically they provide a set of applications that allows a company to interact with its channel partners. Unlike CRM which a company usually imposes on their salesforce, the BlueRoads model is that they are an intermediary between the business and the channel partner. To make it work, BlueRoads creates applications that provide value to both the channel partner, so that they use it, and to the company, so that they pay BlueRoads.
If BlueRoads can pull it off, they have something wonderful. While there are other companies in the PRM space, none of them have anything like the BlueRoads SaaS business model. They have both viral marketing and the network effect in their favor. BlueRoads is currently concentrating on high tech where channel sales are growing to be a larger proportion of total sales and the whole market is growing., so they are in a growing segment of a growing market.
And all they have to do is pull it off!