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10 SaaS companies to watch

Some familiar, some not, these companies show what software as a service is all about

By , Network World
June 06, 2011 12:07 AM ET

Network World - These days, companies are applying the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model to just about everything, from core business functions, including IT, to industry-specific processes. This list, compiled with the help of SaaS trend watchers and users, provides a representative look at what types of software you'll find offered in the cloud.

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1. Company Name: Antenna Software

Headquarters: Jersey City, N.J.

What it offers: Mobile SaaS software and Antenna Mobility Platform (AMP) for building, deploying and managing mobile applications.

Why it's worth watching: Antenna sits at the intersection of two of today's biggest enterprise IT focal points: cloud computing and mobility. "With things getting pushed into the cloud in terms of where they're hosted, and the devices that we're using to access those applications increasingly being smartphones or tablets vs. laptops or desktops, a huge trend right now is enterprise mobility in the cloud. I'd even say that's near the top of most CIOs' to-do lists," says Justin Perreault, general partner of Commonwealth Capital Ventures, an Antenna backer. That puts Antenna in a good spot: It offers mobile SaaS software as well as an on-demand software platform for building, deploying and managing mobile applications in the cloud.

How it works: The Antenna Mobility Platform comprises five interconnected components: AMP Gateway, which routes and manages all transactions between the backend systems and the mobile applications; AMP Studio, a "build-once, deploy on any device" development environment; AMP Enterprise Connect, for bridging between host systems and the AMP Gateway; AMP device-side client software; and AMP Management Center, a role-based Web management application.

Where it resides: In the Antenna Mobile Cloud, a platform-as-a-service environment within Antenna's data centers, which the company says it runs as carrier-class network operations centers.

How much it costs: Mobile SaaS software pricing is an annual subscription fee per device for employee-facing applications and Websites, and an annual subscription price based on a range of expected users or usage for consumer-facing applications and Websites.

Who's using it: Coca-Cola Enterprises, Hologic, E-Trade and Pitney Bowes, among others

2. Company name: Cloud9 Analytics

Headquarters: Redwood City, Calif.

What it offers: Pipeline Accelerator, real-time sales forecasting and pipeline management SaaS for line-of-business managers

Why it's worth watching: Despite some initial skepticism that business intelligence was too complex to tackle from a SaaS perspective, enterprise interest in BI as a service is taking off, says Jeff Kaplan, managing director of ThinkStrategies, which compiles the SaaS Showplace of providers. Among many interesting BI SaaS providers, Cloud9 is representative of those focused on moving capabilities to the edge of a company. "BI used to be this thing cloistered in the corporate headquarters because it was so complex that the information could only be filtered out to the field," Kaplan says. "What SaaS in general and Cloud9 in particular have done is make BI more readily available at the field level so frontline workers can take advantage of it and make better decisions."

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