The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) unveiled the SaaS Executive Council, a multivendor coalition designed for the formulation of best practices, education and communication to help SIIA members and the industry at large better understand the realities and opportunities presented by the "Software as a Service" (SaaS) model.

As SaaS continues to gain traction over traditional on-premise software licensing models, the Council will focus its efforts on delivering primary market research and analysis to help software vendors, channel partners and SaaS consumers get the highest value from SaaS solutions.

"The SaaS model holds great promise for independent software vendors, technology providers and consumers alike. SIIA is working with our 700 plus member companies to assure a smooth transition for both the software publishers and their customers, along with a robust future for the software service model," said Ken Wasch, president of the SIIA.

"SIIA, as a neutral industry group working to validate the business model, is uniquely positioned to address the challenges of the new paradigm, illuminate benefits and drive acceptance among industry analysts and potential customers."

Founding members of the SaaS Executive Council include OpSource, Inc., IBM, Navisite, WebEx Communications, Inc., Keychain Logic, salesforce.com, Intacct and THINKStrategies. Individually, these companies have all embraced the potential of SaaS model solutions. Taken as a whole, this group represents a massive investment in developing and understanding the value of SaaS for the enterprise computing market.

The output generated by the Council is largely the result of the work of four committees:

  • Distribution Committee - This group is working to understand and communicate the SaaS opportunity for the channel. Specifically, the Distribution Committee is examining how channel partners can drive revenue selling SaaS products, and what types of services are available for third-party integrators and VARs, including looking at the channel models that are currently being used by existing SaaS providers.
  • Legal and Contractual Committee - This group focuses on the legal issues associated with SaaS. They have already created a boiler plate service level agreement and are currently focused on a project to demystify SAS-70. The current effort is focused on creating documentation that explains the nature and importance of this internationally recognized auditing standard. This includes the cost and process for achieving compliance and best practices for process and infrastructure in all relevant areas.
  • ISV Committee - This group is focused on general SaaS best practices in a wide range of areas including business model, pricing, lead generation, code architecture, infrastructure delivery and more. The Committee is working to create a series of position papers defining best practices by gathering data from existing SaaS providers on what is working best for those that are experiencing success.
  • Marketing and Communications Committee - This group is focused on taking output from the other three Committees and communicating it to various audiences of end users, ISVs and channels. In addition, this group is working on a TCO framework so that end-user companies can make better informed buying decisions when comparing perpetual license software to SaaS.

"I am excited to be chairing the SIIA SaaS Executive Council because it provides a forum for SaaS companies to get past the hype and collaboratively figure out what really works. This is key to furthering the adoption and credibility of SaaS as a whole," said Nick Blozan, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing at OpSource, and Council Chair for the SaaS Executive Council. "Our goal with the Council is to help every sector of the technology industry embrace the value of SaaS solutions."

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