Criminal mastermind Frank Abagnale, Jr., successfully conned millions of dollars out of the pockets of innocent people by posing in various disguises including a Pan American pilot, a Georgia doctor, and a professor. He was so skillful that in a period of five years he stole more than $2.5 million in 26 countries—a feat made famous by the 2002 filmCatch Me If You Can. Today, slick CRM vendors are trying a similar heist by disguising their products assoftware-as-a-service (SaaS)in hopes of profiting from this revolutionary technology’s recent explosion.
It’s a big problem, especially in the life sciences industry that has been dominated by just a few, large on-premises CRM providers for the last two decades. Lack of competition has, to put it mildly, stifled innovation. And, today these vendors plus some new market entrants are scrambling to compete with SaaS pioneers. They make a few tweaks to their database servers, modify their pricing structure, and go to market with pricey CRM knockoffs cleverly disguised as SaaS.
They look like SaaS, they sound like SaaS, but they are merely cloaked in SaaS clothing. These vendors charge customers to install, configure, and maintain the application on their hardware at their location. They abuse the term SaaS by defining it simply as any application that can be accessed over the Internet. However, these “hosted services” are still shackled by all the same costs and limitations as outdated single-tenant on-premises and on-demand solutions. They incur major expenses each time the software is upgraded because previous customizations are lost and the application has to be redeployed for each customer.
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