Is AWS a lifeboat for enterprise SaaS?

Continuing my series on enterprise SaaS, the private cloud, and other hybrid strategies, I want to offer some hope for startups that are reluctant to abandon their 100% SaaS strategy.

I understand your position, because I can clearly recall arguing in 2007 that SaaS was on the “right side of history.”  I had been in the enterprise software business before, and I saw that SaaS was a better choice, given the madness of annual releases, massive implementation consultancies, and multi-year investments in shaky software.

I underestimated the ability of the Empire (e.g. CIOs) to strike back:

Yet while Amazon’s recent contract to provide a private version of AWS to the CIA might seem to sound the death knell for enterprise SaaS, it might also be a lifeboat.

If the CIA is willing to accept the AWS architecture as a standard, and if Amazon can convince other CIOs to do the same, AWS could become the underlying platform for startups to offer enterprise SaaS applications.

These startups could develop for AWS and know that this would allow them to apply their code to the hybrid infrastructures of major government and private sector customers.

There is a danger that Amazon could get into the Facebook business model, and start ripping off their partners, but to date, Amazon has shown an admirable focus on the platform, rather than providing apps.

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