This year, we decided to take a close look at a category of sites we’ve been quietly tracking for the past four years: Websites that market and sell software as services (a.k.a. SaaS or cloud).

Once limited to a lonely landing page with a free sign up offer, these sites have finally evolved into full-fledged venues packed with product families and sophisticated marketing behaviors. Now that they’ve grown up, it’s time to see how they stack up with their traditional software brethren.

To pick the standard bearers, we researched the top SaaS providers by revenue and market clout – reviewed the contenders – and then added Salesforce.com and Netsuite.com to the 2014 Index roster. Here’s why we think Salesforce.com is likely to win.

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