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Many organizations continue to prefer to develop applications in-house. That approach allows them to have complete control over feature sets, customizations and integrations.
But as these organizations begin to use the concepts of SOA, they’re finding that custom blends of SaaS with on-premise work can and does make sense. SaaS APIs can be hooked via SOA into the overall corporate architecture — and that’s helping them bridge the two worlds.
In considering the ROI of any approach, you need to consider the size of the user population for a given application. Typically the more users there are, the more attractive an in-house solution becomes. But when there are smaller number of users, or the users are scattered geographically, SaaS solutions may make more sense.
SOA can also be applied to link the two approaches, giving the organization flexibility to vary the percentage of the blend as the needs of the organization evolve, and enabling hybrid approaches. On-premise work typically has the advantage of high-customizability, while SaaS has an advantage of easier scalability.
Salesforce has led the way in allowing companies to combine the advantages of SaaS with an environment with lots of hooks for customizability. We can expect to see more SaaS vendors to follow the Salesforce lead.