SaaS Enablement, Implementation

SaaS (software as a service) Implementation refers to the tasks that must be completed to successfully enable a SaaS offering in a cloud computing environment. SaaS enablement can occur through a self service provisioning system for simple applications that are typically made available via public clouds. On the other hand, SaaS offerings which are designed for private enterprise use frequently require hands on configuration that must be undertaken by the ISV (independent software vendor) for SaaS enablement to occur.

A SaaS implementation in a private cloud can be simple or complex, depending on the scope of the various elements to be included in the configuration, such as: business processes, workflows, set-up data, user roles and responsibilities, meta data; and custom instructions & error messaging. Incidentally, ISV’s can increase their profit margins when implementing SaaS solutions, through the creation of configuration templates that can be reused to configure common elements across multiple implementations.

Implementation Considerations

While there are no specific standards for SaaS enablement, there are several key considerations that ISV’s should take in account when planning an implementation for a SaaS solution, as follows:

  • Configuration Maturity for SaaS Solutions: Mature SaaS offerings will be scalable, configurable and multi-tenant efficient. Furthermore, they will also employ a multi-tier architecture which supports load balancing, so increases in demand for the SaaS offering can be successfully managed without changes to the software architecture. A SaaS implementation may also require a capacity for application migration, data migration or the merging of several cloud offerings into a single business solution.
  • Data Security for SaaS Solutions: Another area that must be adequately addressed in the implementation phase for any SaaS service offering is data security. Many clients are already weary of having their enterprise data stored off premise, so it is important for ISV’s to incorporate security measures into their implementations to the fullest degree possible and communicate these measures to clients. There’s a long list of security elements that need to be taken into consideration when implementing a SaaS solution, including (but not limited to): user identity & access management, data privacy, data ownership, compliance, and security patch management.
  • User Training for SaaS Solutions: ISV’s need to also consider what training options will be made available to users, as a lack of user training for certain SaaS offerings can severely hinder user adoption of the SaaS offering. This scenario can lead to an issue of delayed revenue recognition for the SaaS services being delivered, when a pay-as-you-go billing model is being used.

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