The recent spate of hosting announcements by every vendor that can reach for a press release has put hosted applications back on the agenda and likely to remain there for the whole of 2004.
Siebel, Oracle, salesforce.com, NetSuite, Onyx - all have had hosting or hosting related statements to make in the past few weeks. For the end user, the message is clear - you're going to get a hard sell for the hosting model in the coming months.
The reasons are quite obvious of course. For some of these companies - such as Siebel - the hosted model offers a chance to beef up those flagging software licence sales. For Oracle, it's the logical extension of its internet-everywhere and centralised data model approach.
Meanwhile the likes of NetSuite and salesforce.com are the enfants terribles on the scene, stirring up the old guard with their presence. They have the advantage over the Siebels and Oracles of the world by not having to juggle a mixed revenue model as a result of having no installed old-style software licence customers.
The problem for users though is that when all these vendors talk about hosting, they're all talking about something slightly different. With a view to laying out what some of those differences are, we're running a series of interviews/vendor profiles of the leading players in the hosting space. The idea is to let the leading lights lay out their stalls and let you decide which one carries credibility.
This week we've heard from Oracle in the form of Tim Chou and had the thoughts of Marc Benioff, CEO of salesforce.com. Coming up in the next week or so will be Siebel, Microsoft and NetSuite with a couple of other pretenders to the hosting throne in the mix as well. At the end of it all, we'll publish a round up of the key points made by each of the vendors and attempt to reach a conclusion.
In the meantime, please let us know how convinced or otherwise you are by the views being expressed. We'll pass those back to the executives and get some answers to your questions.
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