Are you SaaS ready?

SaaS Software in the Cloud

SaaS (Software as a Service) is flourishing. More and more companies are turning to SaaS and other on-demand solutions to respond to business needs faster and more cheaply. SaaS is a software delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the Cloud and accessed through a Web browser. Customers pay only for what they use and can configure their own environment via a self-service model.

Simple examples of SaaS are web-based email systems such as Hotmail, Gmail and Office365, mostly targeted at consumers. Payroll and Human Resource Management systems have been long-time proponents of SaaS. Salesforce.com is a SaaS-based CRM system. Today there are SaaS offerings for almost every application type, with several ERP and Marketing Automation solutions in the SaaS Top 10.

From the customer’s point of view…

Business Man With TabletBy eliminating the need to install and run applications in-house, SaaS lessens the burden of ongoing hardware and software maintenance, operation and support. SaaS also reduces the up-front expense of software license purchases, replacing it with subscription-model and/or on-demand pricing. Additionally, SaaS and other cloud and hosting services take high availability and disaster recovery planning to the level of a professional data center.

SaaS also has its detractors. Some may worry about security and safety, the level of legal protection in the country where their solution is hosted, the lack of opportunity to customize the solution and the feeling of not being in control of upgrades and new releases.

From the software vendor’s standpoint…

SaaS has the attraction of tapping into a larger market (not restricted by hardware or operating system), establishing an ongoing revenue stream, easier roll-out of new software releases and stronger protection of intellectual property.

Preparing applications for SaaS readiness is not as simple as Web enabling a solution. A true SaaS application has a multi-tenant architecture. The ability to have multiple organizations (called tenants in the Cloud nomenclature) co-exists on the same application instance, without compromising the security of data for those organizations, defines the application as multi-tenanted.

Most experts agree that the tenancy point is what differentiates SaaS from other Cloud offerings.  ‘Shared hardware’ is placed on one end of the spectrum and SaaS on the other end, and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) in between.  In general, the higher the multi-tenancy point (SaaS being the optimum), the less effort is required for setting up a new tenant, because more of the underlying stack is shared. This is well explained on IBM’s Web site at http://bit.ly/tenancyx.

Getting Saas Ready…

While preparing an article for the LANSA Review magazine, I interviewed several independent software vendors (ISVs) who explained their experience with SaaS and all interviewees agreed that the IBM i is an excellent platform for SaaS. The IBM i architecture with its library lists, security levels and many other features is “made for SaaS”. Visit the full length SaaS article here to learn how organizations across industries managed to get SaaS ready with minimal effort and cost and are reaping the benefits.

Marjanna Frank

Author: Marjanna Frank

Marjanna is responsible for LANSA’s marketing activities in Asia Pacific, editing the LANSA Review magazine and writing customer case studies. Her career started as a COBOL and RPG programmer in the Netherlands, followed by 10 years as a developer, analyst and founding partner at PT Sistima, a small software house in Indonesia, which offered its own localized ERP solution and general IT services. After moving to Sydney, Australia, Marjanna joined Aspect Computing and later LANSA, where initially her responsibilities included consulting on data warehousing projects and developing LANSA training materials.

1 thought on “Are you SaaS ready?”

  1. Good idea explaining SaaS from both the vendor’s and customer’s view points. SaaS is claiming a spot on the “digital corporate world” we are in now. The pros of SaaS are quite outweighing its cons as it is able to complement the needs and demands of the customers and no security and privacy breach has been reported so far. Here is a sample of services provided by a SaaS vendor //lirik.io/services.

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