Posts Tagged ‘True SaaS’

News Analysis: Lawson Puts Its Full ERP Suite In The Cloud

Lawson External Cloud Services Represents A Big Step In On Demand ERP Options

On March 31, 2010, Lawson Software (Nasdaq: LWSN) announced the Lawson External Cloud Services offering.  The venerable St. Paul, Minnesota vendor plans to deliver the full ERP Suite including Lawson S3, Lawson M3, and Lawson Talent Management via Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) infrastructure by May 2010.  Key highlights of the announcement include:

  • Full feature ERP offering. Lawson will include its full suite of products from both M3 (i.e. Intentia heritage), S3 (Lawson heritage), and new offerings which includes strategic HCM, Finance, enterprise performance management (EPM), supply chain management (SCM), corporate social responsibility, equipment and service & rental, and enterprise asset management.

    Point of view (POV): Lawson makes a significant investment in providing a new deployment option for its solutions.  Customers will lower IT costs, reduce time to deployment, and maintain ownership of the software using Amazon EC2 in the back end.  The result is a single instance approach to cloud delivery focused on IaaS (see Figure 1).  Virtualization provides the key factor in cost savings.

  • Focus on mid-size companies looking to reduce time to market. Lawson specifically calls out how mid-market organizations can gain scale with security, computing capacity, and lower cost infrastructure.  Organizations pay for only the infrastructure they need.

    POV: Mid-size organizations gain the benefits of large enterprise solutions without the costly overhead of installation and deployment.  Prospects and customers can expect the hosted software to include centralized admin, faster installations, single technology stack, scalability, and faster time to value.   Mid-size customers can free up funds to focus on process design and business transformation.  However, there’s no reason why a large enterprise wouldn’t want the same advantages. More…

Friday’s Feature: Workday Release 10 Moves Users One Step Closer To ERP Replacement

Workday Continues To Pioneer SaaS Success In The Enterprise

Founded by Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri in March 2005, Workday has grown the company to over 135 customers with 80+ companies in production, 17 enterprise payroll companies, and over 400 employees in 50 countries worldwide.  Key industries include services, technology, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and others.  Unlike other ERP pure play True SaaS vendors (e.g. NetSuite, Intacct, and Ultimate Software), Workday uniquely serves the mid-size to very large enterprise clients.  Large production clients range from 26,000 employees at Chiquita to 200,000 employees at Flextronics.  Workday’s roots began with HR but Release 10 bolsters key financial and spend management capabilities, highlighting aspirations to be the SaaS option for Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP ERP replacements over the next 3 to 5 years.

Design Points Reflect The Principles Of Social Enterprise Apps

With the business user in mind, Workday incorporates 8 of the 10 essential elements for social enterprise apps.  These include (see Figure 1):

  1. Role-based design. Software designed around how users perform work including applicable security models.
  2. Consistent experience across channels & deployment options. Software that is agnostic to where or how that software is deployed and accessed.
  3. Contextual & relevant delivery of information. Software which understands what information to provide users at a point in time
  4. Configurable & adaptive. Software that can be modified to meet changing conditions.
  5. Outcome-focused & results-oriented. Software that tracks key metrics across an end to end process.
  6. Proactive, predictive, & actionable. Software that anticipates requests and supports decision making.
  7. Engaging for all stakeholders. Software that opens up the system to new types of users, collaborators, networks, and communities.
  8. Secure & safe. Software that meets security and disaster recovery thresholds.

Figure 1.  Workday’s Design Incorporates 8 Of The 10 Elements of Social Enterprise Apps

Software Insiders Point of View Photo Stream (click image for details)

(Source: Workday)

Release 10 Features Move Users Closer To An ERP Suite

  • HCM adds Succession Planning and expands geographic reach. HR managers gain new functionality with succession planning by candidate names and positions.  Succession profiles track potential, achievable levels, and retention risk.  Improved enhancements touch absence, benefits, compensation, performance management, and staffing.  Cuba and Guernsey are added as 2 new countries.   Global personal data already supports 297 countries and all UN member nations.   Employee contracts now support Chinese and EMEA requirements.
  • Financials expands horizontal capabilities. Key updates include improved customer contracts, scheduled billing, revenue recognition, and milestone recognition.  New financial reporting features allow cost center and regional managers to run reports.  Users receive new project billing, basic VAT, sales tax, and customer statement capability.
  • Payroll augments existing capability.  New features include new off cycle calculations, worker history enhancements, gross-up, and off cycle billing.  Payroll remains focused on primary processing.  Multiple job processing is not available yet but planned for future releases.
  • Spend management adds a supplier invoice workbench. Additional enhancements span procure to pay, contingent worker procurement, resource tracking, and purchase order review.
  • User experience focuses on role based designs. Worker and talent profiles receive new looks that build off of the design elements in the “All About Me” and “My Team” pages in Release 9.   Multi-currency display for compensation now displays local and preferred currencies.
  • Analytics and reporting simplify data creation and consumption. Simple enhancements such as default values for report inputs, report tags for categorizing and search, and data creation from any source accessible by the user improve the ability to turn data into information.  Export now supports CSV, XML, and GData formats.
  • Ecosystem integration expands to new partners. New linkages include MrTed TalentLink, 15 new providers to the Workday Benefits Network (WBN), and improved integration security in the Enterprise Interface Builder

The Bottom Line – Consider Workday In Shortlists For HCM Upgrade/Replacement And Two Tier ERP

With the bulk of most HCM solutions deployed prior to Y2K, many organizations now actively consider upgrade/replacement strategies.   Most users expect upgrades to result in expensive replacement scenarios.  Hence, organizations must determine whether or not to continue with incumbent vendors or pursue a two-tier ERP apps strategies using SaaS deployment.  For mid-sized to large enterprises, Workday provides a unique option to take a phased approach with HCM and grow into the full suite as the product matures.

Your POV

Are you considering an ERP replacement? Will Workday 10′s new features compel you to migrate from your existing apps?  If you are a Workday customer, how’s your experience been with the SaaS vendor?  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 apps strategies.  Here’s how we can help:

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

Related resources and links

20100316 The Enterprise System Spectator – Frank Scavo “Workday pushing high-end SaaS for the enterprise”

20100324 InformationWeek – Doug Henschen “Workday 10 boosts HR capabilities”

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

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.