|By Eric Farrar||
|February 8, 2012 06:00 AM EST||
Interest in cloud-based applications continues apace, but hosting can be a complicated endeavor for ISVs.
The enduring popularity of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) isn't accidental. Whether you're a technology reseller or a traditional enterprise, there's a lot to like about the use of a service model for software delivery, including low monthly cost, fast time-to-market and few deployment hiccups. But SaaS does not reward all organizations equally.
Unfortunately for ISVs, who fall on the 'delivery' side of the service-delivery relationship, the benefits of SaaS are tempered by risks. The nature of being an ISV complicates many decisions about technology and some of these will be amplified when ISVs move toward SaaS delivery. In order to make a smooth transition, ISVs must develop a strategy in full recognition of these unique challenges.
ISVs Are Different
Business has never been a one-size-fits-all proposition. The software industry is no exception. Simply put, ISVs have challenges that other companies don't. Here's a few of the ways in which ISVs are different:
- They must anticipate what customers will want and try to accommodate as many of these options as possible. Narrow solutions yield limited revenue.
- They must be prepared to accommodate special changes and customization, especially from high-value accounts.
- Because solutions frequently transact data from many different customers (and those customers are often close competitors), ISVs must pay extra heed to security to vouchsafe data seclusion.
- They must be sure that the technologies they use will be relevant and supportable indefinitely.
Enterprises, which can concentrate on consuming technology rather than provisioning it, can usually absorb the consequences of the occasional short-sighted decision without too much pain. Rewriting an ill-conceived software application is something they can do behind the scenes, while treading water with the sub-optimal system in the meantime. They can even decide to outsource that function on a temporary basis.
ISVs, on the other hand, can rarely afford to back pedal their technology choices. A full rewrite of any customer-facing software system means taking their foot off the gas, the impact of which goes straight to the bottom line. Worse, there is little way to obscure such mistakes from the notice of customers. When ISVs guess wrong about technology, both short-term revenue and long-term reputation are equally at risk. And not everyone will get the opportunity to recoup those losses.
Into the Cloud
The unique challenges faced by ISVs are not new and most ISV executives are well aware of them. But as market pressure and customer demand for SaaS-based applications increase, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of planning a strategy with these challenges in mind.
Most ISVs are struggling to get to market quickly so they can keep pace with early competitors. With time short, architectural decision planning is curtailed. And the desire to avoid taking on unfamiliar technical competencies, such as server management, become important decision criteria. As a result, the driving importance of customer concerns, such as functionality and customization, as well as control and flexibility over central business assets is being compromised.
Finally, there are new entanglements that arise with hosting, many of which directly conflict with the pressure on ISVs to make broad, inclusive architectural choices. These include:
- Physical location of data: Many customers will be subject to regulatory or policy requirements related to the physical storage of data. For example, they may require storage only within national boundaries or to be able to identify the exact server machines where data is stored. For the organizations that have them, these requirements are deal-breakers.
- Security of data in shared databases: Traditional installed applications have naturally isolated data repositories, and thus do not pose the same risk that data could be leaked outside of the organization. Shared storage architectures are simply too risky for some customers.
- Limitations on customization: Customers will not cease to request customizations simply because their application has moved to the cloud. Will your new infrastructure support your need to customize applications and databases on a customer-by-customer basis? If you don't do it, a competitor will.
- Supplier vulnerability: ISVs choose suppliers and technologies carefully to minimize their risk exposure to deprecation or loss of support. It may be tempting to choose a cloud infrastructure provider such as Salesforce Force.com or Microsoft Azure in order to keep from absorbing expensive new burdens related to data center maintenance, but these platforms are outside of your control. Hinging your revenue on the indefinite cooperation and success of a third party may be unnecessarily reckless.
Caution and Control
There is much to love about being in the business of helping companies solve their technology problems but, sadly, ISVs have precious little freedom to experiment. They must exercise extraordinary caution when changing tactics. The move toward SaaS-based application delivery is without question one of those times. Those that move ahead on a SaaS initiative without being mindful of the challenges will put key customers and future revenue at risk.
As you move applications to the cloud, give yourself ample time now to choose the architectures, technologies and suppliers that will help you maintain both flexibility and consummate control of your business.
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.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 261
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...
Nov. 25, 2015 08:15 AM EST Reads: 341
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...
Nov. 25, 2015 07:45 AM EST Reads: 339
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).
Nov. 25, 2015 07:30 AM EST Reads: 246
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...
Nov. 25, 2015 07:15 AM EST Reads: 153
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Nov. 25, 2015 06:45 AM EST
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...
Nov. 25, 2015 05:45 AM EST Reads: 375
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.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 287
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 416
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 410
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 ...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 161
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 24, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 342
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Nov. 24, 2015 07:30 PM EST Reads: 346
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Nov. 24, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 370
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...
Nov. 24, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 320
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
Nov. 24, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 510
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Nov. 24, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 462
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...
Nov. 24, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 259
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...
Nov. 24, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 419
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.
Nov. 24, 2015 01:30 PM EST Reads: 488