Top 5 Software as a Service Vendors of 2012

Software as a service vendors are some of the most up and coming new business trends of the digital millennium. Combining a new and unique way of software deployment with a rather interesting economic model, there’s a lot to be said for software as a service, its virtues could fill an entire article on their own.

One of the greatest things about software as a service is the fact that any updates or bug fixes that are needed to be added to a problematic piece of software are instantly deployed across all user bases, as all instances of the software or centralized on a cloud.

So, let’s take a look at what we consider to be the top five software as a service vendors of 2012, and learn from what they’re doing right, and perhaps anything they may be doing wrong.

Number 1 – Google

Yeah, use saw this one coming right? Google is one of the leading pioneers not only in cloud computing, but also in software as a service as a topology for deployment. They’ve pretty much got it right, with their drives system, editing software and apps systems, and there’s really little to complain about. Their one software as a service model that they never just seem to get right is YouTube, which has had an unending supply of bad user experience issues with its design and methodology.

But, we’ll talk about that some other time. Google understands that the best software as a service model is the ad based system, though frankly we’re surprised that they don’t also try some freemium models as well. As far as software as a service vendors go, Google’s doing all right.

Number 2 – GameFly
Whether are not GameFly qualifies as a software as a service vendor is a polarizing debate among specialists in this field. However, with the advent of their service to play many PC games for free directly from their website, this debate should and now. While it been around for little bit, 2012 is the year that their popularity has skyrocketed, giving services such as Blockbuster and Gamestop reason to be concerned.
Their downfall is that they are rather avid with their advertising, their ads virally penetrating online video, Email and inserts in mailings. This avid and relentless advertising is beginning to alienate some customers.

Number 3 – Steam

Another when you probably saw coming, and while there not one of the software as a service vendors that recently came into being, like Google, they pioneered the concept.

Offering games as downloadable content, streamed directly to a multitude of platforms an systems, Steam understands that the methodology for game deployment are changing, and they’re head of the rest in this regard.

Their client is a bit bulky, and there’s a bit of bad user experience to be had with its interface. However, they recently announced that they will soon be working on a cloud gaming system, which will remove the need for this bulky interface, severe download times and stream locks that currently happen with their system.

Number 4 – AppNexus

AppNexus is just amazing. These guys can offer the best in targeted advertising systems, widget design and on the fly software construction for web based software as a service.

Rated by multiple other lists as with and the top 10 for three years, AppNexus certainly seems to be on top, and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon other than up. Touted by computing magazines, advertising magazines and design and art magazines, AppNexus is one to even give Google a run for their money.

Their ability to advertise themselves as their one downfall, as unless someone has their service recommended to them, people tend to not have heard of them. Pity, they allow for some amazing targeted advertising and software design, but they don’t understand how to advertise themselves.

Number 5 – AntennaWare

AntennaWare is a cross-platform virtual machine provider focusing on diversity and unification across platforms. Their ability to produce custom, easy to understand and easy to update software solutions for a variety of platforms, including game consoles and tablets, has earned them a name in recent times. A year ago no one had heard of these guys, but now, you can search for software as a service vendors without seeing them listed within the first couple pages on any given search engine.

Going from obscurity to prolific search domination is quite an accomplishment, and it’ll be interesting to see where they go in the future. Their only downfall is that they’re strictly utilitarian in their services, meaning the outside of business solutions, there doesn’t seem to be much to appeal to casual users. Perhaps they will learn in the future to diversify an appeal to the private sector as well.

These are just a few, and we cited the ones that any given person might recognize a mention of their names. There are so many software as a service vendors out there, and as time goes by their only going to be more. Unfortunately, there are too many field of industry for software, and now it seems that individual industries are getting their own classifications. This is why you see no analytical software providers on this list, nor do you see much in the way of trading or finance software as well. These are no longer considered software as a service, but rather something completely their own.

As usual, keep an eye out in your favorite social and journalistic channels, as everyday sees the birth of some pretty amazing software as a service vendors.

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Omri Erel
Omri is the Head of Demand Generation, as well as the Lead Author & Editor of the SaaSAddict Blog. Omri established the SaaSAddict blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to SaaS and cloud migration.
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