Posts Tagged ‘next gen cio’

Research Summary: Next Generation CIOs Aspire To Focus More On Innovation And The Chief Digital Officer Role

Executive Summary

Constellation shares with its clients the fourth annual groundbreaking survey of CIOs later this week.  The 2014 survey interviews respondents about their priorities by CIO persona.  Constellation identified infrastructure, integration, intelligence, and innnovaiton as the four personas of the next gen CIO in 2011.

Survey results show that while CIO’s prefer to spend more time on innovation projects, most CIOs must spend their time battling the reduction of cost in IT delivery.  In the shift towards dominating digital disruption, CIOs can only move as fast as their organization’s DNA will allow while driving transformation. Using Constellation’s organizational DNA framework, CIOs can understand how much change they can expect their organization to consume and gauge their ability to impact the thought process and culture.  An excerpt of some of the findings can be found below:

A. CIOs Must Battle Keeping The Lights On Despite A Desire To Focus On Innovation

In Constellation’s recent CIO survey of 119 respondents, over 44% expressed that reducing the cost of IT delivery remained the number one priority (see Figure 2).  However when asked what should be the number one priority almost 44% expressed that bringing innovation to the business was the number one requirement (see Figure 3).

Figure 1. CIOs Still Prioritize Reducing IT Costs

Figure 2.  Bringing Innovation to the Business Is Top Of Mind On The CIO Agenda

B. CIOs Must Overcome Three Barriers To Bringing Innovation To The Business

More…

Monday’s Musings: Trends In The Top Software Insider Posts of 2012 (#softwareinsider)

Thank You For Your Support

SoftwareInsider.org generated almost 10 million page views in 2012 (see Figure 1).  This does not include syndication through Constellation Research, Forbes (discontinued in 2012), Enterprise Irregulars, Computerworld UK, and other great media partners.

Figure 1.  Software Insider Achieved 9.8M Page Views for 2012

Classic Posts Address The Key Fundamentals In The Disruptive Technology Shift

Four posts have made the all time favorite list and address the 5 consumer technology forces that influence enterprise software.

  1. Monday’s Musings: How The Five Consumer Tech Macro Pillars Influence Enterprise Software Innovation
  2. Research Report: The 18 Use Cases of Social CRM and The New Rules of Relationship Management
  3. Tuesday’s Tip: Understanding the Many Flavors of Cloud Computing
  4. Best Practices: Five Simple Rules for Social Business

2012 Top 40 Reflects A Broader Shift To Business Outcomes And Technology Adoption

Analyst Relations and the World of Influence - The top blog post of 2013 discussed the future of the industry analyst versus legacy analyst firms.

Consumerization of Technology and The New C-Suite – The impact of technology on the C-suite has never been greater.  As business strategy relies more on technology, CMOs, CFOs, and other line of business heads can expect to work more closely with the CIOs and CTOs.

More…

Monday’s Musings: Understand The Four Organizational Personas Of Disruptive Tech Adoption

Pace of Innovation Exceeds Ability To Consume

Rapid innovation, flexible deployment options, and easy consumption models create favorable conditions for the proliferation of disruptive technology.  In fact, convergence in the five pillars of enterprise disruption (i.e. social, mobile, cloud, big data, and unified communications), has led to new innovations and opportunities to apply disruptive technologies to new business models.  New business models abound at the intersection of cloud and big data, social and mobile, social and unified communications, and cloud and mobile.

Unfortunately, most organizations are awash with discovering, evaluating, and consuming disruptive technologies.  Despite IT budgets going down from 3 to 5% year over year, technology spending is up 18 to 20%.  Why?  Amidst constrained budgets, resources, and time limits, executives are willing to invest in disruptive technology to improve business outcomes.  Consequently, successful adoption is the key challenge in consuming this torrent of innovation.  This rapid pace of change and inability to consume innovation detract organizations from the realization of business value.

Organizations Fall Into Four Personas Of  Disruptive Technology Adoption

A common truism in the industry is “Culture trumps technology”.  As organizations apply methodologies such as Constellation’s DEEPR Framework in improving adoption, leaders must first determine which of the four personas best fits their organization’s appetite for consuming and innovating with disruptive technologies.

The personas of disruptive technology adoption assess organizational culture in two key axes (see Figure 1).  The first is how incremental or transformational an organization looks at applying disruptive technology to business models.  The second assesses how proactive or reactive an organization is in carrying out new initiatives.  Based on these dimensions, the four personas include:

  1. Market leaders. Market leaders prefer to drive transformational innovation.  They look at technologies as enablers in disrupting business models.  They see competitive differentiation in delivering outcomes to customers. Market leaders accept failure as part of the innovation process.  They fail fast and move on.
  2. Fast followers. Fast followers prefer to react to the success of market leaders and their experiments.  When they sense success, they tend to jump in.  Fast followers do not like to fail and rapidly apply lessons learned from market leaders into their road maps.  Fast followers tend to deliver scale in the markets as a counter balance to arriving later in the market.
  3. Cautious adopters. Cautious adopters proactively deliver incremental innovation.  They tend to take a more measured approach and spend more time studying how they can improve an existing success than creating a transformational change.  Cautious adopters often come from regulated industries where security and safety are paramount objectives.
  4. Laggards. Laggards tend to procrastinate on applying innovations to their business models.  They prefer not be bothered by trends and will only react when the trends have moved beyond mainstream.  They see value in waiting as prices will drop over time as success rates increase over time.  Laggards enjoy waiting.

During the interviews and discussions with the 2012 Constellation SuperNova award participants, key questions emerged in the decision process on whether to adopt or pass on a disruptive technologies.  These questions aligned well with the four personas of disruptive technology adoption.

Figure 1.  Organizations Should Understand Which Persona Of Disruptive Tech Adoption Describes Them Best

More…

Monday’s Musings: Why Are Innovative CIO’s Betting Less On Cloud And Virtualization?

Innovative CIO’s Betting On Disruptive Technologies That Impact Enterprise Business Value

In the Four Personas of the Next Gen CIO published March 3, 2012, four personas of the CIO were identified: Chief Infrastructure Officer, Chief Integration Officer, Chief Intelligence Officer, and Chief Innovation Officer (see Figure 1).  This research of 79 progressive CIO’s identified the key projects for each of the personas.  As part of the survey, respondents were asked what key disruptive technologies would make an impact in the enterprise in the next year.

Figure 1. The Four Personas Of The Next Generation CIO

Source: Constellation Research, Inc.

In Constellation’s latest update (to be published May 2012), 105 innovative CIOs participated in the survey.  The results indicate a shift away from cloud  (56.4%-2012) and virtualization (29.6% – 2012) to mobile (60.2%-2012) and big data and analytics (48.7%-2012) (see Figure 2).  Despite being the top projects in 2011, the drop in priority of virtualization (51.9%-2011) and cloud (69.6%-2011) doesn’t reflect the lack of interest.  In fact, these projects have matured and innovative CIOs have now prioritized the next wave of innovation.

More…

Monday’s Musings: The Race For Enterprise Class Consumer Tech

Start Ups Chase Enterprise Dollars As Freemium Model Plays Out

I’ve been spending time with emerging technology start ups over the past 3 months.  The good news – innovation in the valley is alive and well.  Most of these ventures start with solving a consumer problem and hope for massive viral success in the freemium model.  The bad news – the VC’s hope for quick turnarounds that result in exit strategies to the deep pockets of Google, FaceBook, Microsoft, and Zynga.  The sad truth -  you and i know most will never make it.  When that realization hits, the VC’s hurry and move to the obvious next step – find an enterprise angle.

Consumer Tech Must Meet Five Elements To Earn Enterprise Class Status

To make it in the enterprise requires a mindset change.  Business models focus on well… making money!  We’ve spent much time coaching clients on how to move from freemium to premium.  We also have to explain how an enterprise customer (i.e. CIO, CMO, Line of Business exec) may make a decision.   Inevitably, our buy-side clients will ask, “Is this solution fit for the enterprise?”  In a post from October about how consumer tech trends will enter the enterprise, we discussed the 5S’ of for enterprise class software:

  1. Safe. Organizations expect these solutions to not only integrate with ease but also, not harm existing systems or jeopardize how users perform daily work and operations.
  2. Secure. More than just role based security mechanisms, these solutions should pass encryption requirements, prevent data intrusion, and protect key intellectual property assets.
  3. Scalable. Solutions should work in a wide range of environments, meet wide ranges of usage demands, and perform well across the globe.  Users should be able to grow demand and scale down as well as up.  Scaling up should lead to a lower cost per unit.
  4. Sustainable. Consumer technologies must meet requirements for flexibility and adaptability over longer periods of time (e.g. 7 to 10 years).  Training programs, knowledge transfer mechanisms, and support communities should be readily accessible.
  5. Simple. Software vendors should employ design thinking to build solutions based on how people want to use mobile, social, analytics, video, and cloud in an enterprise context. Enterprise software should deliver in an easy to roll out and use manner.

There are probably more criteria to add here and I encourage you to add your thoughts to the 5S of enterprise class. Kudos to Christian Pantel for his addition of the 5th S – Simple!

More…

Research Report: Constellation’s Research Outlook For 2011

Organizations Seek Measurable Results In Disruptive Tech, Next Gen Business, And Legacy Optimization Projects For 2011

Credits: Hugh MacLeod

Enterprise leaders seek pragmatic, creative, and disruptive solutions that achieve both profitability and market differentiation.  Cutting through the hype and buzz of the latest consumer tech innovations and disruptive technologies, Constellation Research expects business value to reemerge as the common operating principle that resonates among leading marketing, technology, operations, human resource, and finance executives.  As a result, Constellation expects organizations to face three main challenges: (see Figure 1.):

  • Navigating disruptive technologies. Innovative leaders must quickly assess which disruptive technologies show promise for their organizations.  The link back to business strategy will drive what to adopt, when to adopt, why to adopt, and how to adopt.  Expect leading organizations to reinvest in research budgets and internal processes that inform, disseminate, and prepare their organizations for an increasing pace in technology adoption.
  • Designing next generation business models. Disruptive technologies on their own will not provide the market leading advantages required for success. Leaders must identify where these technologies can create differentiation through new business models, grow new profit pools via new experiences, and deliver market efficiencies that save money and time.  Organizations will also have to learn how to fail fast, and move on to the next set of emerging ideas.
  • Funding innovation through legacy optimization. Leaders can expect budgets to remain from flat to incremental growth in 2011. As a result, much of the disruptive technology and next generation business models must be funded through optimizing existing investments. Leaders not only must reduce the cost of existing investments, but also, leverage existing infrastructure to achieve the greatest amount of business value.

More…

Research Summary: Software Insider’s Top 25 Posts For 2010

Themes In 2010 Reflected The Buy Side Demand For Both Optimization and Innovation

Technology buyers in 2010 focused most of their priorities on finding cost savings through legacy optimization, navigating a flurry of disruptive technologies, and designing/experimenting with new business model innovations.  Consequently, the top 25 posts for 2010 reflected these 3 major themes:

Legacy Optimization

Disruptive Technology

Business Innovation

More…

Research Report: How The Five Pillars Of Consumer Tech Influence Enterprise Innovation

Most Enterprise Software Vendors Fail To Deliver Innovation

Despite hundreds of billions wasted on failed research and development projects, most market influencers would agree that enterprise software vendors have produced a dearth of innovation over the past decade.  Vendors often cite UI re-skins, major functionality additions, integration of acquisitions, technology re-platforms, and weak attempts at faking cloud computing as innovations.  In fact, let’s call it what it is.  Only a handful of enterprise software vendors have truly innovated.   Many enterprise software vendors are fast followers.  Most are innovation laggards living off fat maintenance revenue streams.  Ask any product strategist where they gain their inspiration and they will all cite advancements in consumer technology; and not peer enterprise competitors.

Innovative Enterprises Push Forward Mostly On Their Own

During this year’s Information Week 500 event, conversations with over 50 leading business technology leaders highlighted the growing gap in innovation.  These next gen leaders demonstrated how they were turning to consumer tech advancements to influence their custom development efforts; and/or seeking emerging vendors with innovative offerings.

For example, Bill Martin, the CIO of Royal Caribbean showed how design thinking coupled with real-time analytics and on-board mobility could improve the cruise experience on the largest ship ever built.  Shawn Kleim, Director of Development at WetSeal, provided proof points on mobility and social convergence in driving retail sales and eCommerce in the highly competitive teen apparel market.  Dave Bent, Senior VP of eBusiness services and CIO of United Stationers, proved how a company could deliver cloud services to partners and create competitive advantage across a value chain.

A number of CIO’s showcased how they were taking advantage of the cloud with SaaS apps and private clouds. Others discussed their efforts to optimize costs using third party maintenance to pay for innovation.  The common lessons learned – most did not expect to gain market advantage from their existing and legacy vendors.  Innovations came from the consumer tech side and next generation solution providers.  Consumer tech advancements influenced business driven technology advancements.

Software And Tech Vendors Rush To Incorporate The Five Pillars Of Consumer Tech

Ten elements drive key design points for next generation apps.  These design points showcase how advancements in consumer tech now permeate the enterprise.  Design thinking concepts drive dynamic user experiences, business process focus, and community connectedness.  Based on existing research, deep dives into major vendor road maps, and validation with clients, five pillars of consumer tech have emerged as the foundation for future inspiration in the enterprise (see Figure 1):

Figure 1.  Five Pillars Of Consumer Tech Will Influence Enterprise Software Throughout The Next Decade

More…

Research Report: Rethink Your Next Generation Business Intelligence Strategy

BI Solutions Must Address The Information Management Matrix

A confluence of changing business requirements and on-going vendor consolidation leads many organizations to rethink their business intelligence (BI) strategies.  Many buyers face decisions to move beyond departmental solutions or to stay with an integrated apps based BI solution.  Meanwhile, some buyers must decide whether or not an integrated platform provides the right balance between business impact and cost of technology.  Additionally, most organizations seek support for new data types and new deployment options.  As BI continues to evolve from fragmented and historical reporting to pervasive, predictive, and real-time decision support, an organization’s success increasingly depends on the support for a expanding information matrix of (see Figure 1):

  • New and traditional data types. A proliferation of data types from social, machine to machine, and mobile sources add new data types to traditional transactional data.  Examples include content, geo-spatial, hardware data points, location based, machine data, metrics, mobile, physical data points, process, RFID’s, search, sentiment, streaming data, social, text, and web.
  • Visualization and reporting paradigms.  Users expect more than the traditional charts, gauges, and dials.  Web 2.0 innovations show how Rich Internet Applications (RIA) through tools such as AJAX, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight can create interactive BI experiences.  New and old paradigms include ad-hoc query builders, business performance management (BPM) systems, dashboards, production reports, scorecards, and advanced visualizations.  New visualization types include matrix charts, network diagrams, bubble charts, tree maps, word trees, tag clouds, phrase nets, and others.
  • Approaches and styles. Analytical techniques continue to improve as data volumes explode.  New and traditional approaches include advanced analytics, business activity monitoring (BAM), BI workspace, decision support systems, low latency BI, meta data generated BI apps, non-modeled exploration and in-memory analytics, scenario analysis, and OLAP.
  • Deployment options. With data coming from so many different sources, users are seeking new deployment options.  Common solutions in the BI portfolio include BI appliances, BI in the Cloud, BI specific DBMS, Mobile BI, open source BI, on-premises packaged BI apps, private BI clouds, and SaaS based BI.

Figure 1.  The Information Management Matrix Drives Next Gen BI


Explosion In Semi-Structured And Unstructured Data Challenges Existing Solutions

Along with new business requirements, the old world of structured data must make way for a plethora of new data types in unstructured data.  More importantly, solutions must support a growing number of industry vertical standards in semi-structured data.  Unfortunately, no single vendor can support all the data types that fit into the following three categories (see Figure 2):

  • Structured data. Structured data remains the most understood type of data.  Traditional sources comprise of data in transactional systems such as ERP, CRM, SCM and other database management systems.  Solutions conduct analysis via OLAP and traditional apps centric and database centric BI systems.
  • Semi-structured data. Common examples include flat files in record format, RSS feeds, XML documents, and data in spreadsheets.  Industry-specific XML data standards and cross-enterprise data-exchange standards such as ACORD, EDI, HL7, NACHA, and SWIFT will continue to grow as BI goes vertical.  On the document print stream front, new systems should support ASP, Met code, and PCL.
  • Unstructured data. Sources include natural-language text from e-mail, blogs, SMS, social networking sites, text fields, audio, video, and images.  Unstructured data represents up to 80% of today’s data sources.  Enterprises are challenged in discovering and organizing unstructured data for the real-time delivery of information to the right user.

Figure 2.  Data Types Fall Into Three Main Categories


More…

Research Report: How SaaS Adoption Trends Show New Shifts In Technology Purchasing Power

SaaS Adoption Surveys Often Overlook Audience Composition

Over the past year, analyst firms, tech media, and even mainstream business media have happily showcased positive news about SaaS adoption.  The common theme remains clear – SaaS adoption moves beyond the tipping point in 2010.  Cloud adoption will reach a tipping point in the next 12 months.  All this bodes well for customers and SaaS providers as organizations now embrace SaaS as an acceptable deployment option in their apps strategy.  Unfortunately, recent SaaS/Cloud adoption surveys continue to provide confusing and sometimes contradictory data about adoption.  Close examination of these surveys reveal that not all adoption surveys are equally created.  The unspoken question, who’s answering the surveys?

SaaS Decision Making Firmly In The Hands Of The Business Buyer

Anecdotally, business users drive SaaS decisions, while IT leaders remain skeptical.  To validate this hypothesis, Software Insider conducted a quick survey of 100 Global 2000 organizations.  Starting with the most senior IT leaders, the question was posed, “Are you using SaaS in your organization for major business processes?” (see Figure 1).  Of the 46 organizations who responded, the procurement leaders were then asked the same question (see Figure 2).  After comparing survey results, the following conclusions emerged:

  • IT leaders aware but hesitant on SaaS adoption. A little under a quarter of IT leaders (23.91% or 11/46) responded that they were using SaaS applications.  Key applications deployed include CRM, strategic HCM, expense management and project based solutions (PBS).  Delving deeper into these verbal and in-person interviews highlighted a desire to learn more about SaaS.  As one CIO at a major food and beverage concern stated, “The business heads keep showing up with these SaaS apps and then want us to integrate them.  We need to get a handle on all this!”  Key concerns included, “I don’t know if we can integrate all this in the future”, responded the CIO of a large Fortune 500 retailer and “I think we need better governance and security”, remarked the Director of Enterprise Apps for a Top 25 banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) entity.
  • Procurement leaders reveal surprising adoption by business leaders en masse for SaaS solutions. Conversations with the procurement managers highlight how business users have taken matters into their own hands.  Every one of the surveyed organizations (100% or 46/46) had an existing SaaS contract, contradicting the IT leaders who did not respond that they ran SaaS solutions.  In fact – these contracts ranged from five seat deals to 2000 seats at one organization.  As the procurement head at a large professional services firm indicated, “The teams will buy whatever they need now.  IT has no clue!”.  “Business has to go around IT because they are too busy keeping the lights on”, retorted a procurement manager at a global 10 pharma.  A procurement manager for a large multi-national manufacturer stated, “Our main issue with SaaS is finding enough solutions that will support our needs.”
  • Business leaders take charge but fail to communicate with IT leaders.  The key finding – lack of coordination among business, IT, and procurement.   Amazingly, the 35 IT leaders who stated they did not run SaaS apps for major business processes still may not know about the CRM, HCM, Project Based Solutions, and Finances deployments in their organization.  When some of them were shown the results, these leaders expressed amazement and surprise.  Organizations should be alarmed but not surprised by this lack of coordination between business and IT.

Figure 1.  IT Leader Responses Show Muted Adoption

More…

Event Report: Top 10 Questions To Ask At The Microsoft TechEd/STB Analyst Summit

Clients Now See Microsoft As The Neutral Vendor, Hence All The Questions

Just less than 3 years ago, Microsoft was still perceived as part of the “evil” empire.  Business leaders worried about the complicated and expensive licensing and pricing structures.  IT leaders bemoaned the lock-in and proprietary and often buggy software.  But in a reversal of fortune, customers now worry about Google lock-in, fret over Oracle’s quest to dominate IT through M&A, wonder how hardware vendors will become software providers and vice versa, and remain in shock as Apple’s proprietary and closed approach over takes Microsoft’s market cap.

In conversations with 71 business and IT leaders, the perception on Microsoft has definitively shifted.  In fact, more than 74.6% (53/71) see Microsoft as the neutral and trusted supplier.  With an aging and retiring workforce that grew up on IBM and SAP, the next generation of IT leaders increasingly will exert their leadership and run to their comfort zone of Microsoft and Oracle.  (Note: Don’t expect this to last as the next generation of IT leadership comprises of millennials and digital natives who will try to move everything to open source and the cloud.)  Consequently, Microsoft’s technology offerings receive a renewed interest and reinvestment among customers, partners, and critical OEM’s.  Among this group, many are attending TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, LA.  Key questions they will be asking include:

  1. When will Azure have a viable business model for partners, OEM’s, and customers?
  2. Is Silverlight really ready for prime time or should organizations still leave one foot in the door with HTML 5 or Adobe Flash?
  3. What true social features will Microsoft deliver in Sharepoint, UC, and Office?
  4. After wasting a decade with Windows Mobile can Windows Phone 7 really beat out iPhone?
  5. What will the rise of NoSQL databases and in memory computing mean for SQL Server?
  6. Will Office Web Apps emerge as a significant challenger to Google’s App strategy?
  7. How quickly can Microsoft convince other apps vendors to adopt the STB platforms?
  8. Will Internet Explorer ever become W3C compliant?
  9. What’s Microsoft doing to win over the Web 2.0 crowd?
  10. What partner ecosystems will Microsoft have to rely on to gain leadership in the Cloud?

What’s your question?

More…

Tuesday’s Tip: Understanding The Many Flavors of Cloud Computing and SaaS

Confusion Continues With Cloud Computing And SaaS Definitions

Coincidence or just brilliance must be in the air as three esteemed industry colleagues, Phil Wainewright, Michael Cote, and James Governor, have both decided to clarify definitions on SaaS and Cloud within a few days of each other.  In fact, this couldn’t be more timely as SaaS and Cloud enter into mainstream discussion with next gen CIO’s evaluating their apps strategies.  A few common misconceptions often include:

  • “That hosting thing is like SaaS”
  • “Cloud, SaaS, all the same, we don’t own anything”
  • “OnDemand is Cloud Computing”
  • “ASP, Hosting, SaaS seems all the same”
  • “It all costs the same so what does it matter to me?”
  • “Why should I care if its multi-tenant or not?
  • “What’s this private cloud versus public cloud?”

Cloud Computing Represents The New Delivery Model For Internet Based IT services

Traditional and Cloud based delivery models share 4 key parts (see Figure 1):

  1. Consumption – how users consume the apps and business processes
  2. Creation – what’s required to build apps and business processes
  3. Orchestration – how parts are integrated or pulled from an app server
  4. Infrastructure – where the core guts such as servers, storage, and networks reside

As the über category, Cloud Computing comprises of

  • Business Services and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – The traditional apps layer in the cloud includes software as a service apps, business services, and business processes on the server side.
  • Development-as-a-Service (DaaS) – Development tools take shape in the cloud as shared community tools, web based dev tools, and mashup based services.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – Middleware manifests in the cloud with app platforms, database, integration, and process orchestration.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – The physical world goes virtual with servers, networks, storage, and systems management in the cloud.

Figure 1.  Traditional Delivery Compared To Cloud Based Delivery

screen-shot-2010-03-22-at-105927-pm

The Apps Layer In The Cloud Represents Many Flavors From Hosted To True SaaS

SaaS purists often challenge vendors on delivery models in the cloud at the apps layer (see Figure 2).  Often classified as OnDemand, there are 3 common approaches:

  1. Single Instance – (a.k.a. “On Demand”). Think traditional apps deployed one cusotmer per app or per server. Many vendors provide hosting capabilities. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, customize, and in most cases choose when they want to change the code. All customers can use different versions of the software
  2. Multi Instance – (a.k.a. “Server Virtualized”). Think “VMware” like. Apps deployed into a shared-web hosting environment. A single instance copy of the app is configured and deployed into a web directory for each customer. Vendor benefit from easier to manage multi-instance environments. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, customize, and in most cases choose when they want to change the code. All customers can use different versions of the software.
  3. Multi-tenant – (a.k.a. “True SaaS”). Apps in a multi-tenant deployments provide a single operating environment shared by multiple customers. Config files are created and deployed each time a customer request services. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, configure but NOT customize the code. Customers usually receive upgrades at the same time. Everyone shares the same code.

Figure 2.  Different Strokes Of OnDemand For Different Folks

screen-shot-2010-03-22-at-112728-pm

The Bottom Line – Different Models Bring Varying Degrees Of Trade Offs In Cost Versus Flexibility

Keep in mind there are cases where one deployment option is more favorable than another. Just because you are multi-tenant SaaS doesn’t mean you are better. On the other hand, when vendors tout OnDemand as a SaaS offering, then the SaaS bigotry begins. Be on the look out as more vendor provide mix-mode offerings to support disconnected modes, SaaS and On-premise, Public and Private clouds, as well as other improvements in integration with stronger client side ESB’s. Expect many vendors to put their offerings into the Cloud as Cloud/SaaS moves beyond the mainstream for apps strategy.  Let’s take a look at a two decision criteria:

Scenario 1: From least expensive to most expensive to run for a vendor:

  1. True SaaS
  2. Server Virtualized
  3. Hosting

Why is this important? Let’s see, you choose a Hosted solution and the vendor’s costs to run the app goes up with each new customer as it has to manage the different environments. No matter how hard the vendor will try to “fit” everyone to standard configurations and deployments, that’s not always possible. Flexibility has a cost. In a “True Saas” solution, the cost to add an additional customer is minimal and each customer reduces the overall cost for everyone. Ultimately, a True SaaS deployment will have the lowest cost/user/month fee. What will you do 5 years into an Hosting scenario when you are locked in?

Scenario 2: From most customizable to least customizable for a customer:

  1. Hosting
  2. Server Virtualized
  3. True SaaS

Why is this important? Your may have specific needs in an area where the SaaS vendor has not provided the deepest level of configurations. You can’t just go in and modify the code unless everyone else wants it or the vendor’s has it on the roadmap. The cost of comformity is the lack of flexibility. What will you do 5 years into a True SaaS scenario when you are locked in and the vendor won’t add the feature or functionality you need?

Your POV

What’s your view on SaaS vs Cloud?  Does this help clarify the definitions?  Are you looking at private, public, or hybrid cloud options?  Add your comments to the discussion or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Please let us know if you need help with your SaaS/Cloud strategies.  Here’s how we can help:

  • Crafting your next gen apps strategy
  • Short listing and vendor selection
  • Contract negotiations support
  • Market evaluation

Related resources and links

Take the new and improved survey on 3rd party maintenance

20100322 Monkchips – James Governor “Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger”

20100319 ZD Net: Software as Services – Phil Wainewright “Is SaaS the Same as Cloud”

Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.