Earlier this week (January 22, 2008) Actuate announced their first Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. Actuate OnPerformance is the newest in a long line of performance management software provided by the vendor, expanding their offerings beyond Actuate 9, performance management suite, and BIRT, their open source solution.
The goal of Actuate OnPerformance according to Richard Stark, Director of Performance Management Solutions, is “to increase the options available to organizations that may be interested in performance management adoption, but that may not be as far along in their adoption due to the lack of internal resources”. With over 500 successful performance management implementations, Actuate plans to take their past successes and apply them to this newer software service offering by giving customers the flexibility to deploy their products in the way that best suits their organization’s requirements.
Seeing that SaaS within the world of business intelligence is starting to become mainstream, Actuate’s move towards adding SaaS to their already diverse product line is a positive move. Their entry into this market allows them to compete in the three main realms within BI and performance management, giving them an edge over some of their competitors. Because open source and SaaS maintain regular communication channels with their customer base, vendors can enhance their product and service offerings based on continual customer feedback, giving customers a voice in product development. This increases the likelihood of customer satisfaction in relation to product improvements.
Traditional software offerings enable organizations with more mature performance management initiatives and strong IT infrastructures the ability to implement and develop their own applications to meet their performance management needs. Within the last year or so, open source solutions have become more mainstream within the world of business intelligence. The benefit of combining these two business models is that many proponents of open source are IT developers, whereas those implementing performance management solutions tend to reside on the business side of the organization. By tapping into both of these markets, a wider audience is reached and therefore the potential to expand their customer base achieved. In addition, their expansion to the SaaS arena enables Actuate to target those organizations that may not have the internal resources to implement an organization wide performance management solution.
Even with the inherent benefits of SaaS, because it is a newer offering within the world of BI and performance management, it will be interesting to see what the real long-term benefits and pitfalls are. The focus may become whether long-term benefits of SaaS move beyond short implementation cycles and lower costs, especially when newer entrants to the market are deploying solutions with lower price points than their traditional BI counterparts.
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