Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Amit Golander, Elizabeth White, Jose Diaz, Pat Romanski, David Balaban

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

Improving the Business Value of SaaS Applications

Five steps that will make SaaS more adaptive

SaaS Is the King of All
Of all the three models of cloud computing:

  • IaaS
  • PaaS
  • SaaS

SaaS (Software as a Service) is the one that has the most appeal and potential to evoke interest from enterprise CIOs, due to the following reasons:

  • This is the most cost-effective way to deploy new business capability
  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Unmet performance expectations and not meeting the go-to-market pressures with data center-based solutions
  • No maintenance, patching, licensing issues enable the business to concentrate on their core strengths
  • Wide range of choice and healthy competition already in the market and growing
  • Traditional ERP-packaged software is too costly yet not satisfying all the needs of the enterprise

With these in mind, the popularity of SaaS is expected to grow several times in the near future. However, if you are providing a SaaS-based application to your consumer, how best to adapt this is key to winning business. Because no SaaS consumer would like to see that their SaaS solution is not scaling up to changing business needs and they still need to invest in custom in-house solutions.

The following points will help the SaaS application providers make their SaaS application really extensible so that a larger group of consumers can use the same.

1. Provide Ad Hoc and User-Defined Reporting
For a specific set of federal, state-specific compliant reports, no two organizations are going to have the same reporting needs, even if the application's business context (supply chain, purchasing, CRM) are the same. Varied business users, geographic location, organizational score cards and metrics ensure that each organization has its own need for reports.

Developing all the reports needed for every organization using the SaaS application is not feasible. The solution is to provide ad hoc reporting features, so that users can create and define their own reports.

This feature is not new; several of the reporting tools provide user-defined ad hoc reporting as part of their stack.

However, instead of custom developing ‘ad hoc reporting' capabilities within your SaaS application, it is better to link it with another SaaS reporting solution.

For example, if your SaaS application is built on the Microsoft Windows Azure platform, it is easier to offload the ‘ad hoc reporting' to SQL Azure Reporting.

With several features for both ad hoc reporting and custom reporting, SQL Azure Reporting, which will be available shortly, leads the reporting platform on cloud.

2. Enable Business Rules to Make SaaS Flexible Between tenants
A business rule management system (BRMS) enables organizational policies - and the operational decisions associated with those policies, such as claim approvals, cross-sell offer selection, pricing calculations and eligibility determinations - to be defined, deployed, monitored and maintained separately from the application code.

As I explained in a previous article on Private Clouds And Business Rules, Business Rules usage increase the adaptability of the SaaS applications to multiple tenants.

3. Design with Adaptability in Mind
Several major ERP players have designed their software, in a adaptable way, so that the entire way the software runs can be tailored for individual organizations. For example, in Oracle E-Business Suite, flexfields provide an adaptive framework to let any company define the hierarchies specific to them, and yet the overall software works out of a single code base.

A flexfield is made up of sub-fields or segments. A flexfield appears on a ur form as a pop-up window that contains a prompt for each segment. Each segment has a name and a set of valid values.

There are two types of flexfield.

  • Key Flexfield: Key flexfield are flexible enough to let any organization use the code scheme they want without programming. Key flexfield can be used to represent code that is made up of meaningful segment to identify GL a/c Part no. and other business entities. Oracle apps store these codes in key flexfields.
  • Descriptive Flexfield: They provide customizable expansion space on ur forms. You can use desc flex fields to tract additional information important and unique to ur business that would not otherwise be captured by the form.

4. Link Authentication back to Enterprise Directories
The biggest concern for CIOs for SaaS is security. Every organization has invested a lot in their on-boarding mechanisms and employees have been kept in directories. It would be highly adaptable for SaaS applications to offload the authentication to enterprise directories so that the organizations will be more adaptable to using SaaS applications.

Again this can be done easily if you choose the PaaS platform that is used to build the SaaS application carefully. For example, Windows Azure Appfabric Access Control lets you get authenticated against in-premise directories. The following diagram, courtesy of the vendor, shows the authentication of the SaaS application shifted to several on-premise and external authentication providers.

5. Select an Upgrade Friendly PaaS Platform
The less down time an application has or performance impact due to a guest  operating system, upgrades or patches are the best  for the selection of a SaaS application. For that the PaaS platform on which the SaaS application is built holds the key.

Windows Azure guest OS Auto-upgrade feature to help you keep your service running on the latest operating system available for Windows Azure. The platform automatically upgrades your service to use the latest OS whenever it becomes available without you have to worry about it. This helps you keep your service running on the most secure OS available for Windows Azure with no extra effort.

Summary
Enterprises are looking into SaaS to reduce TCO and be  agile to changing business needs , however, they would not  like to get disruptions or   the SaaS application  not have flexibility between  tenant to tenant, choosing the correct PaaS platform and designing the systems with Adaptability  in mind will improve the marketability of the SaaS application.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Srinivasan is passionate about ownership and driving things on his own, with his breadth and depth on Enterprise Technology he could run any aspect of IT Industry and make it a success.

He is a seasoned Enterprise IT Expert, mainly in the areas of Solution, Integration and Architecture, across Structured, Unstructured data sources, especially in manufacturing domain.

He currently works as Technology Head For GAVS Technologies.

@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO & Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and devel...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
See storage differently! Storage performance problems have only gotten worse and harder to solve as applications have become largely virtualized and moved to a cloud-based infrastructure. Storage performance in a virtualized environment is not just about IOPS, it is about how well that potential performance is guaranteed to individual VMs for these apps as the number of VMs keep going up real time. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in product and marketing at Tintri, will discu...
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
Redis is not only the fastest database, but it has become the most popular among the new wave of applications running in containers. Redis speeds up just about every data interaction between your users or operational systems. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dave Nielsen, Developer Relations at Redis Labs, will shares the functions and data structures used to solve everyday use cases that are driving Redis' popularity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
Peak 10, Inc., has announced the implementation of IT service management, a business process alignment initiative based on the widely adopted Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. The implementation of IT service management enhances Peak 10’s current service-minded approach to IT delivery by propelling the company to deliver higher levels of personalized and prompt service. The majority of Peak 10’s operations employees have been trained and certified in the ITIL frame...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...