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Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS), the Future of Property Management Software

Last week I gave an invited presentation at the MIT Enterprise Forum. The topic was “Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) a $160 Billion Market Opportunity.”

The audience was delighted to learn about cloud computing and the vision behind AppFolio and about our web-based solution for property managers.

What is Cloud Computing? It is Internet-based computing where shared resources, software, information, and massively scalable IT capabilities are delivered on demand “as a Service.” But the real advantage of Software-as-a-Service is that it can be accessed from anywhere, any device, using just a simple browser. Users can be working from PCs, Macs, iPhones, and even new iPads. This is exciting!!

Cloud computing represents the next major computing cycle after Mainframe Computing, and PC & Client/Server Computing [Wikipedia] because it dramatically reduces the IT complexity. As Nicholas Carr, the author of “The Big Switch,” likes to point out, 100 years ago large companies stopped generating their own electricity and instead plugged into the newly built electric grid. This freed them up to focus on their core business instead of electricity generation. The same exciting transformation is happening today with Internet cloud computing. It allows companies to focus on their business and customers, instead of managing servers, databases, backups, and the complexities of information technologies.

Annual worldwide IT spending today is close to $400 Billion [IDC], 95% of which is delivered by on-premise IT solutions. Only 5% is delivered by IT Cloud Services. But this is changing quickly. No wonder IDC predicts that cloud computing is a $44B opportunity, Gartner predicts $56B of cloud services revenue, and Merrill Lynch estimates cloud-computing revenues will soon reach $160 billion.

There is a tidal wave going through the IT industry, the future of computing is web-based and property managers are definitely embracing web-based technology. When you’re no longer required to be at your desk to access and share information, you can get so much more work done!

Property Managers – In addition to web-based property management software, what other kinds of Software as a Service applications are you using to improve your productivity?