SaaS - Application & Infrastructure Really Matter

Tuesday 12 August 2014, 12:14PM

From inception Proactive Software recognised that any company offering cloud based services had to demonstrate a focus on security and uptime.  Software as a Service (SaaS), if inaccessible to customers provides no value.  So permissions and infrastructure matter more than any particular feature of the code.

That said software users tend to take things for granted and almost expect things to change immediately, so any shortcomings encountered today are expected to be addressed tomorrow.  If it’s a problem today, it will be fixed or different tomorrow.  Add to that our daily experience of the consumer hardware renewal cycle and the ‘here today, better tomorrow’ image is complete. 

For example, people am happy to load an application to their phones and almost assume that problems either will not exist, or be quickly overcome, and in any event if the worst happens they can just switch to some other better, faster, cheaper solution. 

Software used by the individual requires some time to be invested of in learning, using and maintaining the application.  The cost of learning increases as the number of people using the application expands and, depending on the application, so do the risks and costs associated problems.  When software we use as individuals fails it is annoying, generally it is easy to fix and tends not to propagate problems to others.

“Business software used in support of business processes and customer needs add a layer of complexity and risk, more users and their interrelationships, security permissions and the like and amplifies the consequences should things go wrong”, says ProActive Software CEO Julian Stone.

SaaS adds another layer of consideration; application implementation brings in the issues already mentioned and runs on the supplier’s infrastructure.  So the choice of a SaaS supplier reaches well beyond the application to infrastructure robustness and security.  A great SaaS application has limited value if servers are inaccessible or security is breached.  So if you are thinking SaaS ask if the SaaS supplier’s infrastructure is robust, reliable and secure – the potential consequences to any business application are huge if the foundations fail.

“In the early stages of SaaS development we often heard developers claim that applications could be built in a couple of months and be supplied for free.  This could be a valid claim for an application that works some of the time, but something that works very nearly all the time (99.99%) does not happen by accident, it takes careful planning and implementation”, says Stone.

“If you are thinking of implementing a SaaS solution, have a look at how the application has developed over time: not too much that drives excessive retraining costs and not too little that freezes the application in time.  Beyond that have a careful look at security, permissions management and infrastructure always asking what if I can’t reach my data, and is my data secure?” says Chairman John Walley.

For further comment contact Julian Stone (+6421 864 639) or John Walley (+6421 809 631)
ProActive Software is based in New Zealand, develops and sells ProWorkflow web based project management software. 

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