The Evolution of SaaS - A Historical Timeline

It's almost hard to believe that SaaS has been around for over 15 years now. According to the infographic below, sourced from Dreamsimplicity.com, Software-as-a-Service started to take shape in the mid-1990s. It looks like the first 5 years of its existence were those who were simply testing the water - there was little commitment to ongoing development or R&D, and no obvious immediate or sustained ROI.

The next stage in the SaaS life cycle was dominated by the early adopters - those who saw its potential and wanted to capitalize on it. This period between 2000 and 2004 was a time of heavy capital investment and lengthy deployment.

As awareness of SaaS rose, so did its popularity, with the second half of the decade seeing in general a much bigger uptake, minimal capital investment, fast deployment, and clear short-term ROI.

This takes us up to where we are now, in the "Best Practice Practitioners" phase, what the author has labelled as "Software Plus Services", as opposed to Software-as-a-Service. What does this mean? Well, according to the graphic, this compromises no or little capital investment, little resource intensivity, immediate and documented ROI and long term ROI with sustained cost reduction.

The Evolution of SaaS - A Historical Timeline