Posts Tagged ‘software appliances’

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.

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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.

Monday’s Musings: Why On-Premise Vendors and SI’s Should Go on the Offense with SaaS

On-premise vendors still see SaaS as a loss leader due to huge ramp up and punishing revenue recognition rules

When it comes to the topic of SaaS, many on-premise vendors appear to be living in denial, hoping that SaaS fails, and/or creating confusion in the market place.  These tactics have merit as a shift to SaaS requires plenty of work with minimal return and a destruction – disruption of the current business model.  In conversations with 61 vendors and building off of SaaS evangelist Jeffrey Kaplan’s post (July 2, 2009, Seeking Alpha – “From the Vendor’s Point of View: Why SaaS Sucks”), vendors who have made this transition or have started the investment put in heavy lifting in these activities must:

  • Re-architect apps
  • Find balance between configuration and optimization of SaaS platform
  • Design product road map and rollout strategy
  • Determine SLA’s
  • Identify a hosting strategy
  • Craft pricing and licensing policies
  • Harmonize SaaS pricing with On-premise and other models
  • Create go to market strategy
  • Alleviate channel conflict with partners, resellers, distributors

After all this work to be ready for SaaS deployments, vendors also discover that FASB SOP 97-2 software revenue recognition rules prohibit them from immediately recognizing multi-year contracts. Even worse, subscription revenue can only be recognized on a month-to-month basis – leading to a long road to profitability.  In fact, vendors such as Lawson, estimated a 7 to 10 year break even period for a full SaaS model.  No wonder Harry Debes was fired up on how SaaS could be a fad in his interview with Victoria Ho at ZD Net last year.  In private, most software executives also echo such sentiments and wholeheartedly agree with his comments about the business model challenges.

Yet, SaaS adoption moves beyond the Tipping Point in 2009

However, the confluence of recessionary forces, stalled innovation from many on-premise software vendors, and success of early SaaS pioneers such as SalesForce.com and NetSuite has put Software-as-a-Service into the mainstream.  Vendors can no longer resist the move to SaaS without negatively impacting their license sales and customer mind share.   Additional facts highlight the shift:

  • Forrester State of Enterprise Software 2009 survey results confirm significant adoption rates from 2008 to 2009. Of 1000 IT executives and decision-makers, 24% were interested/considering, 11% implemented or planning to expand, and 5% piloting SaaS solutions (see Figure 1).
  • Clients continue to vote with their budgets despite marketing FUD by many on-premise vendors on the perils of SaaS. Success Factors‘ win at Siemens for 420,000 employees, Workday‘s win at Flextronics for 240,000 employees, and Ultimate Software’s win at P.F. Chiang’s for 30,000 employees reinforces how SaaS is more than CRM and SMB.
  • Concerns over SaaS have dropped significantly over the past year. Successful deployments mitigate concerns and highlight the attitudinal shift towards acceptance.  Major decreases include integration issues (43%), total cost (31%), lack of customization (31%), complicated pricing models (30%), performance (23%), can’t find the specific application (20%), security (17%), and lock in with existing vendor (17%) (see Figure 2).

Figure 1: Users expect to increase SaaS adoption in 2009

saas-deployment-2009

Source: Forrester

Figure 2.  Concerns over SaaS have dropped significantly over the past year

2009 Enteprise and SMB Survey - SaaS Concerns Declinet

Source: Forrester

Defensive SaaS strategies by vendors miss the opportunity to take market share.

As customer’s continue to demand SaaS solutions for rapid deployment, pay-as-you-go pricing models, and timely innovation, traditional on-premise vendors without a SaaS offering must now explain, defend, or develop their own SaaS story.  Concerns about the impact of SaaS have many vendors in defensive mode.  Defensive strategies have included:

  • Creating counter marketing about SaaS and the viability of the market
  • Responding with hosting options and financing options
  • Building SaaS options for a limited set of popular SaaS solutions such as sales force automation (29%), strategic HCM (29%), and customer service and support (27%) (See Figure 3.)

At first glance, mega vendors such as SAP and Oracle have started with the first two points and are evolving to the third.  They aim to counter the success of Ariba, SalesForce.com, Success Factors, Taleo, Workday, and Ultimate Software with their own offerings.  SAP’s OnDemand for LE release and John Wookey’s ComputerWorld UK interview by Mike Simons, confirms that the strategy will include “CRM on-demand and e-sourcing, with expense management set for a 2010 release.”  Wookey’s approach appears to first shore up areas where SAP customers have been defecting and then worrying about what’s next (see Note 1).  Meanwhile, discussions with Oracle product teams also hint that a release of 5 to 9 SaaS offerings to complement Oracle Siebel CRM OnDemand offerings could be announced soon.  This defensive strategy shores up competitive SaaS solutions such as incentive comp, procurement, and strategic HCM.

Figure 3.  Rate of adoption of key SaaS solutions show significant interest in CRM and other areas

2009 Enterprise and SMB Survey SaaS Interest Areas

Source: Forrester

The bottom line -SaaS gives software vendors and system integrators an opportunity to take market share.

Instead of playing defense, vendors should look at the opportunity to take market share through SaaS.  SaaS vendors and their investors have realized they can target any install base and win by providing compelling functionality.  Why shouldn’t on-premise vendors bite the bullet and go on the offense?  To make this work software vendors would want to take advantage of their partner ecosystems and customers to extend capabilities beyond what’s being delivered in on-premise.  Vendors must make an initial investment in a SaaS/PaaS platform, agile development methodologies, and integration technologies to support hybrid deployment options.  From there, white spaces in the product road map will provide direction into the future opportunities such as vertical and other pivot points that have not been well served.  SAP’s acquisition of Clear Standards for carbon compliance, NetSuite’s acquisition of OpenAir for project based solutions, and Intuit’s acquistion of Entellium for CRM highlights examples of going on the offensive with SaaS.  Of equal importance, system integrators can shift the balance of power and deliver new IP via SaaS solutions while reducing their dependency on the mega vendors.

Recommendations: 7 best practices for crafting a SaaS strategy at an on-premise vendor

Imagine you could start from scratch and build a new software company.  That’s the question I posed to 61 software executives this year.  Most stated they would start with a SaaS deployment option for the scale and the business model.  Now what to do if you are an on-premise vendor?  Answer – build a separate SaaS software division within an on-premise software company.  This could be the next trend among the on-premise vendors for both investment and revenue recognition reasons.  What would be a good strategy:

  1. Reuse similar business process parts as the on-premise product
  2. Harmonize the data model and common objects
  3. Build a brand new RIA based UI and UX
  4. Assume that all data sources will be heterogenous
  5. Design the product to run stand alone
  6. Attack white spaces of new growth in a competitor’s install base
  7. Keep a PaaS platform in mind to attract partners and customers to extend the solution

Your POV.

Totally turned off by SaaS? In the midst of a SaaS strategy? Ready to embark on a SaaS strategy?  If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out?  Please post your point of view here or send me a private email to rwang0 at gmail dot com.

Note 1: The large enterprise (LE) SaaS platform will not come from NetWeaver or SAP’s SME Business by Design (ByD) technology, but come from the acquired Frictionless platform.  While this may leave some SAP customers concerned, Wookey and product super stars Kevin Nix and Peter Lim (of Siebel fame) counter by highlighting where SAP components will be reused and highlighting the home base integration advantage.

As also seen in the July 14th, 2009 SandHill.com”Moving to a SaaS Offensive”

Copyright © 2009 R Wang. All rights reserved.