In April of last year, I proposed a three-part test for IT proposals that I dubbed "The New China Syndrome."  If an idea doesn’t fit the emerging environment in China, I argued, it’s probably not a very good idea anywhere else — but this week’s report from Celent, "SaaS and Financial Application in China," affirms that cloud computing services are finding China quite a congenial environment, with a forecast SaaS market growth rate of 33 per cent through 2011.

A recent blog post by Rich Tehrani spotlights the concern that he believes may slow this SaaS momentum, not just in Asia but everywhere: he wonders if we’ve lately seen "a critical mass" of outages from a variety of well-known service providers. I think it more likely that the growing attention to service reliability is a symptom of success. When services are considered merely convenient for those who can’t afford the alternative, occasional blips in availability are not news. When major enterprises incorporate SaaS and PaaS as a foundation for their strategic plans, as Dell will be doing over the next three years, expectations will rise — and fundamental decisions about architecture and facility robustness will prove their worth on a global scale.

Enterprise IT buyers will therefore do well to note the difference between software providers that use a service option to sell more software, versus service providers that write software to enable superior service.

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