Getting "On Board" with SaaS

A Tutorial to Begin Being a SaaS Industry Analyst


The Software-as-a-Service industry is one of the most important segments in technology right now. This means two things: 1. There is a lot of news going on about it and 2. It's hard to keep up. The purpose of this tutorial is to get you on board with SaaS, how to keep up with the news, and find new information on your own.

Learning the Ropes

There are two ways to "learn the ropes" with SaaS: through this Wiki and looking at a few important websites. On the Wiki, learn about what is Software-as-a-Service and who Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and are and their role in the SaaS industry. Definitely look at and read some of the articles at the Current Events page. Although the news only relates to the "SaaS 4", a lot of the major news with SaaS over the last few months has revolved around these companies.

Then spend some time reading Microsofts view on Software+Services, Amazon's Web Services division, and their Platform-as-a-Service idea, and Google's products. After this, you should be able get up to speed about SaaS and its major players.

In regards to the RSS Feeds, definitely stay up to date on Amazon Web Services Blog, All About Microsoft, SaaS @ ZDNet, Zoli's Blog, and Webware. Great blogs, great information.

Keeping Up with the News

The news changes almost every second and certainly there are major events almost every day. Thus, it's crucial to be agile with the news and be able to keep up. First, check out my BlogRoll which is a list (and evaluation) of 30+ RSS Feeds related to SaaS. These RSS Feeds/Blogs will provide you with a lot of good information moving forward. However, I highly recommend (in fact, I insist) you go to, create your own account, and begin managing your own set of RSS Feeds.

To help you find new RSS Feeds and blogs, you should use or Google Blog Search. These were great resources and you learn more about them here. Most news-type sites these days have RSS Feeds. The ones that don't, you can use Feed43 to convert any page into an RSS feed. When you become more familiar with RSS, Yahoo Pipes is an extremely powerful tool that can help you combine and filter RSS feeds.

Finding New Sites and Information

Reading blogs and news site isn't always enough. It's important to be able to find new websites related to SaaS and these don't always come in RSS/News form. But, there are lot of great resources out there to help you find new sites.

Web Directories - Use web directories to find a list of websites about a particular topic. Instead of searching for sites, you search or browse for categories that relate to your interest. Yahoo and Google directories were absolutely worthless, so I recommend using Mahalo or [].

Deep Web Resources - The Deep Web is all websites/information that a normal search engine cannot index due to copyright restrictions, password-protected areas, and database information. Deep Web search tools are used to find that information. The ones that worked best for SaaS were Forrester and Gartner, but remember you will need a subscription to access these sites. Although I could not evaluate this source, I know that IDC is also a great subscription-based research firm that does a lot of work with SaaS/Cloud-Computing.

Tag-Based/Social-News Sites - In addition to traditional news websites, there are a lot of social news websites that are best to explored through the website instead of with an RSS feed. They are all user-generated content and you can search via tags (IE - Microsoft, Live Mesh, Google Docs, etc). Check out Digg and Propeller. Also, I highly recommend using - it is a social bookmarking website that lets you see what people are saving as bookmarks (you can narrow it down by tags) and also lets you save your bookmarks online so you can access them anywhere.

Other "Traditional" Web Search Tools - Google (or Yahoo or Live) are what people generally use to do a regular web search. If you do decide to use these, make sure you take advantage of Advanced Search Techniques/Syntax. However, there are lot of other useful web search tools out there. Try out Cuil to get access to the largest search index, IntelWays to search a plethora of different search engines at once, and Cognition to have Wikipedia answer any of your questions.

SaaS Search Engine - Don't forget about the SaaS Search Engine on the home page! This Google Custom Search Engine was specifically made to help you find new information about SaaS. Make sure you try it out.

Good Luck!

Good luck with being a SaaS Industry Analyst. Please contact me if you have any further questions or ideas on how to improve the Wiki.

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