UK software companies are not far behind the US when it comes to offering SaaS versions of their products. That's according to new report from TechMarket View which found that, while US software vendors were still ahead in SaaS provision, the gap is narrowing.

The research organisation has implemented a grid-based system to identify the pace-setters in the UK market. While TechMarketView acknowledged that Salesforce was well ahead of other companies in this space, other players were not so far ahead.

"There are several UK players who are in a good position in their respective markets and well on the journey to Cloud, such as Fidessa, Kewill and StatPro. Also, some pure-plays such as NewVoiceMedia, and Kashflow are positioned to enter the leaders' class if they can take significant market share from the on-premise majors they compete with, " wrote the report's author Philip Carnelley, research director for TechMarketView.

"I was a little bit surprised at the findings," Carnelley told Techworld, " but once you start scratching beneath the surface at what the software companies are offering you find that more are pushing SaaS than you'd have first thought. Often, it's because they're talking about ASP, hosted services and on-demand software and the SaaS message gets lost. It's also because they're not pushing the technological services too hard and are, quite rightly, concentrating on the business benefits."

What's encouraging for the UK vendors, said Carnelley, is that the major vendors such as Oracle and SAP have only just started to get to grip with SaaS offering "while Sage has tried cloud and failed with is and has had a rethink about what to do." He said this leaves plenty of opportunity for UK software houses.

Carnelley believes that the move to SaaS shouldn't be left to the SaaS "pure-play'advocates.

"A religious war has been raging between those who think SaaS is the only true way, and those who think it's just one of a number of solutions. In addition to advocating a goal of SaaS-only solutions, the SaaS purists have made much of the advantages of the multi-tenancy model. In our view, suppliers and buyers should take the pragmatic view," he wrote.

He said that he expected to see SaaS offerings make headway into small businesses, where companies will find it easy to make the switch, and into larger enterprises, working alongside existing products. "Medium-sized enterprises will find it harder to make the shift to adopt SaaS," he said.