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Showing posts from April, 2008

The CIO's dilemma about SaaS and Cloud Computing.

Thanks to Todd Bisk's blog on Software as a Cloud vs Software as a Services I got the opportunity to listen to the Churchill Club podcast from ZDNet recording of a debate between Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, and SAP Chairman HassoPlattner. It was an interesting debate where Marc was positioning AppExchange as the next generation platform (for SaaS) where as Hasso positioned Business by Design more of a cloud computing platform - initially targeting small and medium business.

As CIO's starting hearing about these industry trends it creates a dilemma for them. Where should they use which solutions. Following is my take on the topic:

As per my earlier post Is SaaS Ready for Prime time? I would recommend that CIO's adopt SaaS solution for non-critical and/or non-differentiation business solutions such as Sales Force Automation, Financial Applications and HR applications. As all the SaaS platform are proprietary I would customize the business process for these solutio…

Introduction to Services-Oriented Operating Systems

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IT Organizations today need to procure a lot of additional infrastructure components (hardware and software) to adopt SOA. This increases both the IT capital expenditure as well as operating cost in terms of head count required to support the infrastructure. There should be a simpler way. Wouldn't it be easier to just deploy a single software (an OS???) on all the hardware and configure (deploy) solutions on them on as needed basis?

As more and more of middleware functionality is going into a chip and network card - the time has come to converge both the OS and the middleware into one single engine.

Foundation Components:
Workflow: A basic workflow engine that could be leveraged/expanded to execute business logic, user interaction, etc. Security: Basic security capabilities based on industry standards. Transformations: Provide transformation services and leverage hardware wherever appropriate.
Discovery: Dynamic discovery of other nodes, reference services, resources, etc. Supports stan…

End of Application???

One of the advantage of co-blogging on the same site is that you can get two view on the same topic at the same blog :). I did review both Todd's Blog on End of Applications as well as Surekha's response on the same topic. In principle I agree that it would be great to get rid of the word or term "Application" - however in my mind this would not be practical because this word is very widely used in the Business Community.

Following is something that has worked for me in the past. Business would refer to Siebel or PeopleSoft application whenever they meant CRM or Order Management. With the help from the LOB-IT (and the decision makers from Business Operations) we were able to get business to start referring to them as Forecasting Application, Order Management application and Lead Scoring Application. It took over a year to change to get business to refer to the business process as applications - instead of getting rid of the term applications.

As a true EA - in al…

Providing SaaS solutions on a shoe string budget

These days there is lot of buzz around Software as a Service (SaaS), especially solutions targeting small and medium businesses. As terms like scalability, reliability, availability are all very important for providing these services, I started thinking on data center approaches for start ups to provide SaaS solution and came up with the following alternatives:
Procure all the hardware - install, configure and deploy the solution. A pretty expensive undertaking that requires a lot of $$$ - plus additional $$$ for disaster recovery . One alternative would be to rent servers from providers like Verio, Yahoo and GoDaddy but this still requires substantial investment.
Leverage SaaS platforms provided by companies such as SalesForce.com or Coghead which are pretty reasonable and they do have decent partner and developer program. However, the drawback to this approach is that the solution would not be portable and you are basically tied to their customer base and pricing bundles.Get a …

Key Learnings : The End of the Application

This is a blog post in response to Todd Biske's posting on "The End of the Application" which can be found at the following URL.
http://www.biske.com/blog/?p=347

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I am in complete agreement with you Todd, about needing a retirement plan for the term "application"!!! I share your sentiment about how this ubiquitous term reflects not only the siloed solution that gets built but also in how this term influences the way in which the business need is translated into requirements. Case in point is the way in which I have heard business analysts phrase their questions to the end-user. For example, "How do you expect to act on the information the application provides?" as opposed to asking "How do you or your user community make decisions based on this information?" OR "What is the business context (business rules, policies,regulations etc.) that influence the informa…

Key Learnings: Drawing parallals between Design Patterns and the priniciples of SOA

In looking through some of the Object Oriented Design Patterns, I found a curious parallal between the goals of some of the "Structural Patterns" and "Creational Patterns" and those of SOA.

The following are the two key principles that are most striking:
Principle 1: provide a clean interface or an entry point and hide all of the details from the caller
Principle 2: provide a layer of indirection between the interface and that of the implementation

It is interesting to see how these "design level" goals re-appear in the realm of architecture with changes only to the scale of applicability.

Principle 1 is supported by design patterns such as Facade, Abstract Factory, Builder and the Factory. Facade hides the behavioral details of the implementation while the others hide details of the details of the creation of a resource or assembly of a resource as in the case of "Builder".

Priniciple 2 is supported by the Bridge pattern that allows the plugging an…

Is SaaS ready for prime time?

One of the questions that keeps coming up in my conversations with my peers is whether SaaS is ready for prime time? My response to this is that yes!, especially for small or medium size company. I would not hesitate to recommend SaaS solutions such as NetSuite or SalesForce.com to small and medium size business.

As a small business, one may start with solutions provided by Intuit (either on a desktop or SaaS) and as they grow out of it - NetSuite may be a better choice, especially as they provide and end-to-end-solution.

SalesForce.com's advantage is their primary focus on CRM - critical to small business and their AppExchange platform. Based on my initial assessment - I do like it. The jury is still out on whether 3rd party shall develop applications on this platform. If they are successful in attracting the development community - they should be able to go head-on-head with NetSuite - will be interesting to watch.

As for SAP and Oracle on Demand - have not reviewed their s…