October, 2012


Welcome to the October Cirrostratus Group Newsletter.


Last week I spoke at SaaS University in Boston on the topic of Improving your SaaS business using metrics. My slides are available here. There were a couple of new themes at the conference this time including a focus on using analytics to measure application usage and customer engagement, something that I've stressed in articles and newsletters. Another theme was the use of communities with SaaS as a way of improving churn, marketing and development. SaaS communities are something that I believe we'll hear a lot more about in the future.


The new Gartner Magic Quadrant for Public Infrastructure-as-a-Service is out and I've made some comments about it below.


The much anticipated Workday public offering occurred with fabulous short term results. Is this a unique situation or are we going to see enterprise SaaS companies with skyrocketing valuations?


I am intrigued by the new free online college level courses. I believe that these companies and approaches could be one answer to the skyrocketing cost of college education and I've shared some thoughts below. I'm anxious to take a class to see what it's like and I plan to do that soon. I'll let you know how it goes.


Please contact me if I can be of assistance to you or your organization. I would be very interested in hearing about your plans for the Cloud.

Paul Ressler
The Cirrostratus Group



Workday Logo    

Workday, a provider of enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for human resources management, had a very successful initial public offering in October. It is of course good news for enterprise SaaS companies and a continued validation of the SaaS business model.


The IPO price was $28 after being increased a couple of times. After some corrections the stock is trading today in the $50 per share range. One view of the valuation is that it was driven by the revenue growth of the company. Rodney Brown, Editor in Chief at Cloud Ecosystem articulates that view here. Michelle Raffler of Workforce believes that it is a sign of a healthy HR software market. Forbes also has quotes from several CEOs about the IPO. Clearly Workday is a successful company and SaaS has been a key part of that success. If Workday can compete against the established providers in a mature market like human resources software then any incumbent software provider is at risk.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service
Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud - 2012 
Gartner just released their 2012 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service. There are several changes which I think are significant. Gartner has removed several providers from the report and is only focused on the providers with a market share that puts them in the top 15. IBM is one example of a provider that has been removed and it is surprising that they don't meet this criteria. Dimension Data which purchased OpSource is now in the leadership category a significant accomplishment for the OpSource team. Amazon has progressed as a leader since the last report making them a very strong competitor and someone that I believe should be included in every evaluation of potential cloud solutions.
You can download a copy of the report here. 
Massive Open Online Courses

For some time I have been following MIT's and other university's work on providing free courses. I figure if it works for software it could potentially work for college courses. A recent Time magazine article outlined what is being done in this area and I was amazed at the number of courses and the activity going on.


How is this related to SaaS and cloud computing? Beside being delivered in a cloud type manner the providers are learning and doing many innovative things related to communities and particularly how communities learn and interact. For example MIT decided not to have teaching assistants help with tutoring people that were taking the class because students learned better from their peers, a less expensive more streamlined model of delivering a class. Where all of this is going is unclear but I believe it will change college education for the better.


Udacity, edX and Coursera are the major providers at this point. edX is a non-profit university based approach led by MIT and Harvard. Coursera is for profit and has 33 university members. Udacity is a stand alone for profit company.


It will be fascinating to see if this takes off, what the business models are and what new things we can learn about learning and communities.


Contact Paul Ressler at the The Cirrostratus Group

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Magic Quadrant
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