Google Homepage - The Future Face of SaaS?

Software as a Service (SaaS) continues to gain momentum in the enterprise and is on its way to becoming a $20B market by 2011 (industry estimates from CSFB and Tripletree). Google, with its “iGoogle” homepage, provides enterprises a single view through which to access the information in various SaaS solutions such as, SuccessFactors, Employease, Service-now, Citrix, WebEx Connect, and Rearden Commerce. Together, these solutions alone represent an estimated 5M daily users (Appirio analysis of industry data).

Due to their nearly ubiquitous presence on the Internet and the emergence of SaaS solutions, Google has unparalleled access to a business user audience that can lead them into the enterprise.

The Google Homepage could be the future face of SaaS solutions. Some early indicators:
  • Google Gadget Ventures -- Google launched its Gadget Ventures Program on June 27 to fund companies dedicated to developing Gadgets for the Google Homepage. To date, the Gadget Gallery has been consumer-oriented - tracking stocks, managing to-do lists, monitoring the news, checking the weather. The Gadget Ventures program represents a push for business Gadgets to drive user productivity, serve up application data, and provide query capabilities into enterprise applications such as The ability of Gadgets to make information more accessible to business users applies to all software – even traditional on-premise software. On-premise giant SAP launched a prototype ”Enterprise Widget Foundation” this week to integrate their back end with widgets, the UI, and a single sign-on (SSO) solution.

  • Adoption of Google Applications -- Frustration with Microsoft Vista and Office migration and management costs have led to many companies piloting Google Apps. P&G, GE, Prudential, and L'Oreal, along with ASU and Northwestern University, have large projects with tens of thousands of users (see case studies). This momentum, combined with Google’s acquisition of Postini earlier this month, signifies a strong move to bolster Gmail security and compliance issues, which have been a barrier for enterprise adoption. Google wants to accelerate enterprise adoption of its on-demand solutions, putting it in the same camp with large SaaS vendors such as

  • Increased Emphasis on SaaS Partnerships and Solutions -- Google Developer Day (May), their partnership announcement with (June) and the Postini acquisition (July) all signal an increased focus on SaaS partnerships for the enterprise. Also Google’s own enterprise applications gallery showcases partner mashups like those connecting Google and We predict other SaaS ISV's will create application specific Google Gadgets and incorporate consumer Gadgets into their own solutions.

We believe the convergence of these trends will allow Google to deliver a compelling “Google SaaS Dashboard,” consolidating information and enabling functionality from leading SaaS vendors inside the Google Homepage via Enterprise Google Gadgets (EGGs). As the growing Gadget Developer Community becomes more sophisticated, we will begin to see single Gadgets integrating data from multiple SaaS solutions. Business users will get hooked on the highly modular dashboard that consumers already expect. This represents Google’s best play yet for bringing compelling content (and potentially ads) to 20M+ business users by 2011 (CSFB research with Appirio analysis).

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