Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Anders Wallgren, Greg O'Connor, Liz McMillan

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.

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
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. ...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, 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. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...