In a staggering interview by ZDnet with the CEO of client/server ERP firm Lawson, CEO Harry Debes said the Software as a Service (SaaS) market will collapse within two years.
“People will realize the hype about SaaS companies has been overblown within the next two years,” he said. “An industry has to have more than just one poster child to overhaul the system. One day Salesforce.com will not deliver its growth projections, and its stock price will tumble in a big hurry. Then, the rest of the [SaaS] industry will collapse.”…[click continue reading for more of Debes’ surprising comments]…
But in a perhaps even more surprising move given that Lawson does not have SaaS offerings of its own, Debes didn’t exactly paint a favourable picture of the more traditional client/server software sales model: “Getting signed up as a SaaS customer is fast, but getting out is just as fast. Whereas traditional software is like cocaine–you’re hooked,” he told ZDnet. “It’s too difficult and expensive to switch providers once you’ve invested in one. If it were easier to jump ship, a lot of people would’ve hit the eject button on SAP a long time ago.”
Of course, according to that logic, people might have hit the eject button on Lawson a while back, too. Besides, comparing client/server software vendors to crack cocaine dealers has the feel of the Gerald Ratner about it.
Ratner, you’ll recall, told the Institute of Directors in 1991: “We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’ I say, because it’s total crap.”
I’m scheduled to meet Lawson’s Debes in a couple of weeks – I think there should be enough to talk about, don’t you?