Jana Technology Services Blog

March 5, 2007

Addressing SAAS integration issues

Filed under: Open-Source,SAAS,Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 1:43 pm

The success of the software as a service application model has led to increased issues around integration, particularly across application platforms to enable SAAS services to be offered.

A clarification of SaaS is that it delivers service functionality within a hosted application environment.  Users pay for the service which they can usually choose features to extend and/or turn off depending on their requirements.  The biggest player in this space is of course salesforce.com with a reputed 600K plus paying users.

An interesting article on TheServerSide by Joseph Ottinger looks at some of these issues, in particular devoping adaptors, network security issues, SLA monitoring etc.

Much of the article seems to have been taken from an survey recently conducted by MuleSource, the ESB Open Source Product.

There are some interesting issues touched upon here, many of which we at Jana have come across ourselves in our consulting practice when helping out prospective SaaS vendors. They are well worth thinking about upfront  when doing cross platform integration that is necessary for service offerings.

Another interesting part of the article is that MuleSource have now released a beta connector for Salesforce.com to faciliate some of this cross paltform integration between systems. This is definately something to keep an eye on.  Mule is becoming more and more interesting as a core infrastructure component, and again proves the value that Open Source projects really do have.

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February 16, 2007

You Tube for Data

Filed under: Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 7:08 pm

At Swivel you can upload any kind of data and display it visually for others ,who can then rate it, or comment on it, bookmark it etc. As well as a multitude of other things, you can compare data to find possible correlations.

Swivel is very slick and a very good implementation of a web 2.0 concept, with a unique idea – it will be interesting to see how this develops.

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January 4, 2007

Google Mail (GMAIL) Problems

Filed under: Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 1:52 pm

Online Mail is increasingly being used as a means of emails storage, with Google one of the 100 pound Gorilla’s of this space.  However, Gmail users are complaining that their emails and archives are disappearing without their intervention.

Morale of the story…..always backup any information that is vaulable to you on a regular basis, be it webmail or online documentation that is archived or even Databases that are being used on a shared host.

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November 20, 2006

Is the traditional method for deploying software on its way to extinction ?

Filed under: SAAS,Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 8:07 pm

Hosted software, deployed over the Internet, is fast becoming less of a niche market for CRM vendors but a full blown IPO inspiring success story.

The latest entry into the growing Software-as-a-Service market may yet be the most significant…we are talking about Google of course. It seems to have made its most significant effort to date to extend its reach beyond its core search business and has created a portfolio of office tools that include email, calendar, communication and day-to-day productivity applications.

True, its original set of applications may seem to be aimed at small business, but you can count on them morphing into full blown enterprise offerings. Imagine that…full blown productivity suites that can be use by corporate users without needing to be deployed or maintained or indeed, updated – Microsoft may well shudder…

Google is obviously not the first to enter wholesale into the SAAS mode, but it may yet be the most significant..

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October 31, 2006

SAAS: Forget the hype it’s here to stay

Filed under: Blogroll,SAAS,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 3:56 pm

The idea of Software as a Service (SAAS) is not new. It fomerly reared its head under the banner of ASP amongst other names and acronyms. So why is SAAS more significant and proving more alluring ? We would say there are at least three reasons:

1. Viability and the comfort factor: The outsourced service model has matured, and has a good record of success – Salesforce.com, Google, Netsuite, RightNow etc. Analysts an d VC’s are comfortable that these companies are going to be around in the future, and the Analysts are right behind the model.

2. The financial arguments for SAAS are conclusive. Using SAAS companies can amortise the cost of their software or infrastructure provider and turn it off or on based on demand. The model also allows them to average into things and to try out models that fiscally they may not be able to do in house. Companies can also change providers if the quality of service and cost are poor which puts the control in a companies hands rather than the software vendors hands.

3. The third is the change of the web itself. There had been very little change in browser technology since Microsoft released Internet Explorer. This meant that online application vendors had to work very hard to get online applications working because it was very complicated making an interactive application work within the browser.

Current SAAS providers such as SalesForce and Google are planning to build their own ecosystem of applications, hosted on their sites. SalesForce is already pushing ahead with AppExchange 2.0. Currently applications that can be built on AppExchange, a way for developers to build their own applications on top of Salesforce.com infrastructure, are still no match for applications built on top of Oracle or MS SQL. AppExchange 2.0 closes the gap.

SF have come up with a way to host both the data and the logic and according to Benioff, SalesForce CEO, this will go a long way towards being a fully formed web operating system. To maximise the power of this AppExchange needs more applications and to that end SalesForce is leasing a former Siebel facility in San Mateo, California with plans to turn it into an incubator for apps development. Cubes are to be leased for $20K per year to startups with onsite programmers providing help and support.

Amazon is probably not a company you would instantly associate with SAAS but they are offering an increasing number of Tech Services. Firstly there is S3, which offers digital storage at 15 cents per Gigabyte; EC2, which rents computing capacity to smaller web developers; Mechanical Turk, which pays humans to handle intelligent repetitive tasks, and this is without taking into account the 180K+ developers finding new uses for Amazon Web Services, including its E-Commerce code.

Benioff from SalesForce asks “do we really need to own everything. SAP and Microsoft tell them that they do. We disagree.” With the the economic way that Salesforce has been gathering momentum over the last few years, it seems that a lot of companies and users agree with him.

Here at Jana we have already seen the fruits of transitioning companies to an SAAS model. The transition can be painful and infrastructure has to be setup to embrace new revenue and marketing programmes, such as Affiliate programmes and web channel marketing, but we have already seen some amazing results with the companies that we have worked with.

As a revenue model, SAAS works. You aggregate users and have a predicatable revenue stream. From a user perspective they amortize their payment costs and have control and flexibility. Little wonder that SAAS has fuelled internet sites and development not seen since the late 90’s .com days.

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