Cloud computing: Simply SaaS renamed?


Great SaaS companies, said Mitchell, are separated from others through an efficient marketing and sales force, making customers part of the development process and focusing on renewals.

"You get the best ideas from users," he said.

Customer service is critical for SaaS providers, said Sanjay Popli, vice president of corporate strategy at LiveOps, which provides cloud-based contact center services. Customers, Popli said, "expect significant upgrades and changes on a regular basis."

"If you lower the entry barriers [via SaaS], remember, you're also lowering the exit barriers," he cautioned.

Earlier at the conference Thursday, Lars Dalgaard, founder and CEO of SuccessFactors, touted his company's efforts in SaaS. The company, which has 5.4 million users, offers on-demand applications to align businesses to strategies and seek maximum business results.