Freshbooks is a SaaS invoicing/billing application with some c135,000 users. One of the intriguing consequences (or maybe design attributes) of a multi-tenant SaaS app is that the vendor can mine the aggregated data for additional insight. That information can either be reconsumed to enrich the application itself and/or can seed a new application that finds trends or value in the aggregate. So, yesterday, I received a marketing email from Freshbooks which promotes exactly that feature. The app's aggregate data 'obviously' knows routine things like the browsers used, but also things like the proportion of the customers who email vs snail their bills. It is 96% vs 4% btw - not surprising given this is Web app in many ways. Clearly there is some very valuable information to be mined from such an aggregate that provides insight into the customer usage but even more as the size of the network grows and the semantics in the transactions get richer. Intriguing, and one of the hidden advantages of a SaaS model. At Talis we do something similar with our Talis Gateway which is effectively a store and forward EDI gateway for book supply transactions to 25% of the UK's university and public libraries. Unfortunately the application was built many years ago when terms like 'network effect' , 'SaaS', 'Semantics' etc were not the parlance. We're onto it though.