Update: Symantec's SaaS Strategy

Apparently, Symantec's SaaS (software as a service) platform, known as Symantec Protection Network (SPN), hasn't exactly set the world on fire since its launch earlier this year. In fact, Symantec has been unusually quiet about SPN's progress in recent months.

But that changed last week, when the company described some of the bumps SPN has hit during Symantec Vision -- a customer conference held in Las Vegas.

Jeff Kaplan, a well-known SaaS and managed services expert at Think Strategies, provides a recap of Symantec Vision, along with some timely perspective about the past, present and future of SPN.

Frankly, Symantec should be the poster child for effective SaaS systems. The company's two core markets -- security and storage -- are two of the hottest areas for SaaS today. But Symantec hasn't created much buzz in the SaaS world ... yet.

Perhaps the company got distracted as it tried to digest the 2005 buyout of Veritas Software. And promoting SaaS initiatives with channel-driven sales is a difficult balancing act for many vendors.

On the one hand, Symantec has worked overtime to include resellers and consultants in the SPN launch and build-out. But on the hand, many small and midsize businesses may wonder why they need a partner to purchase SPN services, when the system requires only a few point-and-clicks to use.

Despite these challenges, Symantec continues to push forward with SPN. The system initially supported online storage management, but security capabilities are coming online soon.

Kaplan and Think Strategies show just how determined Symantec is to succeed in SaaS. But I have to be honest: I'm surprised Symantec isn't running away with this market. Given their heritage in storage and security, Symantec should have much higher visibility in the SaaS industry.

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