SaaS: From Scarcity to Overabundance
Clement Vouillon

Hi Clement,

thanks for your series. I am wondering why you haven’t considered application platform as a service (aPaas) as a threat to SORs AND workflow apps.

So I suggest to have a third scenario.

Why aPaas will (are) disrupt SaaS, SOR and API platforms?
Business processes incrementally change over time. Especially in the digital age, businesses are required to adapt to market changes very quickly. Neither SORs nor workflow apps are today capable to react to processes changes. With aPaas your are able to build data structures and workflows on one platform. In addition, you are able to integrate them with other systems, even with legacy systems (bi-modal). Depending on the complexity of the aPaas (no-code or low-code), web apps can be created in a fraction of time compared to traditional software development.

With aPaas, companies remain nimble and are able to change and to deploy business logic changes very quickly. I doubt existing SORs or workflow apps are capable to deliver “custom” business process logic.

I always disliked the eat or die way when buying software. As a company or department you always have to compromise with the solution instead of being fully customised.

How do aPaas (will) compete with specialised SORs?
1. Apps Templates:
They provide app templates which solves a specific core process of a department or company. E.g. a CRM a todo app or project management solution.

2. Generic Integration: They are able to “plug and play” to SORs and act as a middleware. And as soon aPaas are mature enough and learn from the data, they can replace the SOR.

3. Coding for non-Coders: They enable business people / process savvy people to create apps and provide insights about the app, the workflows and the data. Why should you buy a SOR with that freedom and flexibility?

Why data collection is not the problem?

Successful SORs are very valuable because they managed to collect critical data from businesses and since collecting this data is a long and complicated process, businesses tend to stick with the same provider (lock in effect).

I believe it is not the collection of the data itself which locks companies in. It is the “openness” of those system to allow external systems to extract / migrate the data. Besides that, the “cleanness” of the data makes it difficult to move away. Human beings type in the data and makes migration hard. Wrong, incomplete or broken data sets make switching almost impossible.

If you look at companies this lock in effect has its downside. Overtime more and more of those system add up (including SaaS, workflow apps) to the system inventory of businesses creating system silos / islands. Which makes companies less and less flexible. More and more resources have to be put in in order to keep the systems running which makes the entire organisation tardy. There comes your in place. But is integrates only a specific segment of business needs and is not pluggable to core systems.

Example of aPaas:

Caspio (I am the co-founder)

Further readings

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