SaaS (Software as a Service) continues to grow in popularity as network speeds explode, data storage continues to crash in price, and people become more comfortable with the internet. Online property management software/service offerings began back when Application Service Provider models became popular in the late 1990’s. Now these same companies, and new entrants, are moving to the service model.
So what’s the difference between ASP and SaaS? For the real estate industry, Marc Hausman of Strategic Communications Group describes the difference between ASP and SaaS best when he says,
Software as a Service companies subscribe to a multi-tenant approach. They offer the same features and functionality to all users, who then benefit from a better managed, maintained and supported solution.
On the other hand, ASPs are a single-tenant offering. The solution is still hosted by the vendor and paid for by the customer via a monthly fee or on an as-used basis. However, the specific feature set is unique to the user.
Companies are now providing more than just “who are the people in your neighborhood” meeting websites, like MeetTheNeighbors.org. Service providers like Buildium bring many of the management tools to residents, service providers, and property managers alike. Even Inuit has moved from desktop to online software with their MRI offerings. But the future lies in integration of remote devices (like barcode scanners) and web services (like inventory management). The one to watch here is BuildingLink and their technology tools. BuildingLink is a .com survivor that used the ASP model and is now embracing the SaaS model. Their pricing is per-unit plus premiums. They could be prepared to pop with an improvement to their website layout and a marketing blitz.