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Reverse SLA

The relationships between customers and providers in the cloud business are generally governed by the Service Level Agreement or SLA. In a previous post I made the point that a really “tough” SLA is probably not the “holy grail” of the cloud business, which every customer should be looking for. In this post I will continue the same line of thought, focusing this time in the impact that a strict SLA has on the customer organization itself. For this purpose, I will use the term “Reverse SLA”.

The binding nature of SLA

The cloud business brings some very interesting and unique characteristics in the way customers and vendors are engaging: For the first time in computer history massive amounts of data are processed and stored outside the physical boundaries of the enterprise (its LAN or WAN). Also, vendor companies can reside thousand miles away from the customer premises and they are run by people that most probably the customer will never meet in person or maybe even talk on the phone.
These unique characteristics make the customer/vendor relationship very interesting and also somewhat difficult to describe. Such relations are typically governed by the Service Level Agreement (SLA) which the customer signs or in some cases just “accepts” with the click of a button on the web page of the cloud service they’re subscribing to.

Mobile is the future

One of the many advantages of web applications (Software as a Service – SaaS applications are the best example here) is their “portability”. Before the rise of business web applications one had to tap in a corporate server using difficult to understand or use technologies like “remote desktop” etc., to gain access to corporate data and functionality. Then the World Wide Web came and new, reliable and safe (although many don’t believe so) applications saw the light of day. Tapping into the corporate environment became so much easier. Also, using a computer other than one’s own became possible (e.g. internet café, a friend’s house, borrowed during vacation etc.)

What does “Quality” mean for SaaS products?

As anything sold, quality is the first and most important factor for its success on the market (price is the second most important thing, but we will not deal with it, in this post). During my engagement with the Software as a Service business I have found out that Quality is an issue that needs to be redefined in that context. I started thinking about this, driven by the fact that “traditional” software “virtues” are not enough to build a sustainable SaaS income. By the term “traditional” I mean all the usual quality elements or performance indicators that the buyer expects from any kind of software (SaaS or not-SaaS): To be error-freeTo be fast and reliableTo be user-friendlyTo be adequately supported by its vendorTo provide insight to the data that it keeps (and not just to… keep them)

Rogue IT

Today I shall scratch the surface of the so-called “Rogue IT”, how it is affected or enabled by the very nature of cloud and Software as a Service and whether organizations should fight against it or just “ride the wave”.

SaaS ecosystems as business enablers

In the past, I have talked about collaboration opportunities in SaaS environments where similar business run their operations and one can get some input or intelligence from the other, here http://tchristidis.blogspot.com/2011/01/collaboration-in-saas-environments.html . Also, I have talked about how a SaaS application forms a kind of community which can assist users to exchange ideas and increase the usability of the software, thus maximizing the investment they have done in their SaaS solution, here http://tchristidis.blogspot.com/2011/10/saas-applications-and-their-community.html.
Today, I am elaborating on some details and investigate if and how a SaaS environment can be used not only as a means to execute daily tasks but also as a business enabler for the on-board users.
The basic idea is that a SaaS database contains valuable data of the on-board users, such as services they provide, product catalogues, availability of their products etc. Businesses with some kind of co-relation …