Phil Wainewright posted a great article on mult-tenant SaaS and why its important to the buyer:
SaaS buyers shouldn’t settle for the limited horizons of single-tenancy. Multi-tenancy is the ideal architecture to make the most of the cloud environment, because it continually evolves to keep pace with the collective demands of its tenants.
I am in total agreement with Phil here. We’ve been practicing multi-tenancy since we started SAManage over three years ago, and have gone through a long learning curve on how to effectively operate, maintain and upgrade our multi-tenant infrastructure to meet the ever evolving client needs. Multi-tenancy provides great advantages for us as a business: we scale our infrastructure faster, we constantly identify bottlenecks and improvement opportunities that benefit all tenants, and we innovate much faster than vendors with single tenant or on-premise infrastructure.
For our customers, multi-tenancy enabled them to easily connect with cloud-based services they already use today, such as Google Apps and Salesforce.com, and integrate with their on-premise IT systems. As we continue to innovate and enhance our service, it empowers our customers to use standard-based web interfaces to easily connect with cloud services they will deploy in the future. If you experienced the challenge of integrating legacy, on-premise applications bounded by proprietary interfaces (and constantly maintaining these integration when you upgrade the stack), you’ll certainly appreciate the simplicity of web integration. When the present is so good, imagine what the future would look like as adoption of cloud-based services continues.
Speaking of the future, Phil writes:
This is before we even start to think about the potential for using pooled aggregate data for benchmarking, validation or trend analysis, along the lines that Dennis Howlett discussed in his weekend blog post. Most of the benefits of public cloud multi-tenancy have not even begun to be explored, much as the huge transformative impact of the internal combustion engine was unimagined at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The next evolution of SaaS vendors is going to be in what I refer to as “meta data aggregation”, the ability to analyze the collective data within the SaaS platform and bring new insights and capabilities to customers by helping them benchmark their operation against similar organizations, and make strategic decisions based on the collective data of the industry, not just their own. It will help customers better understand trends that are starting to emerge within their industry, and take actions based on these changes. Unlocking and aggregating the meta data will create new ways for companies to connect and benefit from the ecosystem, their vendors, suppliers and customers in ways we are not even imagining yet.
Multi-tenancy means more for the buyer than to the vendor, because its what makes the difference between legacy, walled garden, on-premise applications and using a SaaS application that was built and lives over the cloud, one which will innovate and scale with the connected web as more services we use migrate to the web.