Is SaaS for You?

We often get the question is SaaS a tool we should use. This is a broad topic, so we did some research and came up with a set of answers to this query:

SaaS is software that’s delivered as a service, from a ‘cloud’ which could be a data centre based anywhere. Much like water comes to the home or office. You open the tap, the water pours out, you pay for what you use. You don’t own the reservoir or the pipes that bring the water to you. Will this model in the case of software?

The phenomenon of information growing exponentially affects all businesses, from SMEs to large enterprises. Operating environment becomes more complex with new sets of risks associated with managing and sharing large amounts of information.

Today’s fast, targeted, silent threats take advantage of the open network and new technologies that support an increasingly mobile workforce. Organizations need innovative approaches to protect the web, email servers and endpoint. The challenge is to find an easy-to-implement solution that avoid the cost and upheaval involved in installing new network infrastructure.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is the next evolution in how companies use and pay for software. Some say it’s the next step in the fulfillment of the technology “dialtone.” Executives and business managers want to understand the impact of SaaS to their bottom line, business model structure, and real-time operation requirements.

SaaS 100 Success Secrets: How Companies Successfully Buy, Manage, Host and Deliver Software as a Service (SaaS)

Dr. Timothy Chou was an early pioneer in delivering SaaS when he launched Oracle’s efforts in 1999. Over the past 10 years he has written several books, including The End of Software. He has also lectured and advised numerous companies on this significant shift in the software business. Most recently, he authored the book Seven, which discusses seven fundamental business models from the traditional to the Internet. Chou shares with Inner Circle readers his opinion on SaaS and its potential impact on how companies do business — today and in the future.

Dr. Timothy Chou (TC): Cost is certainly an executive concern. No matter what industry you’re in, your IT budget is dominated not by the cost of computers but by the cost of people — people who are managing the performance, availability, security, and maintenance of the software you’ve purchased. As a general rule, if you take your software purchase price and multiply it by four, that’s what you’ll spend to manage that software, per year. This translates to easily 75 percent of your budget being tied up in managing existing software systems.

There’s no consensus on the term quite yet, even though the concept is sufficiently proven by now that it ranks as a legitimate alternative to licensed applications that are typically deployed inhouse and managed with internal IT staff. Software as a service, or SaaS, seems to have a slight edge in the name game, so we’ll go with that.

There are a couple of technology basics associated with SaaS. The first is that in most cases the system you access remotely will be available over an ultra-high-speed, secure Internet connection (or, alternatively, via a virtual private network, which for all intents and purposes amounts to the same thing).

One of the biggest technology benefits of a hosted solution is that it can inherently provide a platform for a “services-oriented architecture,” or SOA. This is a way to enhance the functionality of a system using external “services” available via the Internet, rather than coding all system functions internally. There is no direct relationship between SaaS and SOA, but if your SaaS solution is designed to take advantage of it, that can be a benefit in providing add-on functionality.

Survey: More SaaS development in 2009 | Between the Lines | ZDNet

More than half of all developers around the globe will work on Software as a Service (SaaS) apps this year, with a surge expected in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a study released today by Evans Data Corp. North America tops the list now for regions where SaaS implementation is highest, with 30 percent working on it today.

read more at…Survey: More SaaS development in 2009 | Between the Lines |

Interest in SOA, SAAS Expected to Grow in 2007

There is an article in Eweek about SOA and Software as a Service (SAAS) that discusses the Enterprise vendor’s direction for these two initiatives. From our observations, most middle market companies are not interested in these approaches as they are still struggling with will the software work for our business. Yes, the underpinnings of the ERP are important, but not as much as functionality.

So are SOA and SAAS two flavors of the month? To a certain degree yes. There is so much media hype about how important SOA is to business, yet the key differentiators in ERP selections is still functionality. Are SOA and SAAS important for the future of Enterprise Applications? This has to be yes. Oracle and Microsoft are still just trying to get there various products to talk to one another. They need these two technologies to make a viable “fused and green” product.

But in the end, the customers do not care about these two technologies. They care about something even more basic.. will it work for my business!

(We welcome your comments on this topic! Post them below or in our discussion forum.)

Here is the Eweek article:

Interest in SOA, SAAS Expected to Grow in 2007
By Renee Boucher Ferguson
December 26, 2006

For companies that use enterprise applications from the leading vendors, 2007 to some degree wont offer many surprises. The top vendors—SAP, Oracle and to some degree, Microsoft—will continue investing in service-oriented architectures and will grow their investments in software as a service, according to industry observers.

All three companies will continue their investments in their respective next-generation ERP enterprise resource planning suites, with an underlying middleware platform: mySAP ERP, Oracle Fusion and Microsoft Dynamics.

SAP, of Waldorf, Germany, will offer its first completely SOA-based suite of applications for the mid-market, and Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., will release Titan, its multi-tenant CRM suite for the mid-market. Both offerings have implications for end users. SAPs hosted suite—the formal announcement is expected in the first quarter of 2007—could impact the mid-market, said Jim Shepherd, an analyst with AMR Research.

“SAP will announce a full mid-market ERP suite that is entirely SOA-based and all new code,” Shepherd said. “The question is if it is enough of a game changer where the mid-market buyer says, I was going to buy [new software] this year, but SAPs suite is not available until 2008. Ill just wait and see. It could freeze the market. We’ve seen it happen before.”

Read the complete article here…