Monday, March 12, 2007

Peek inside the Kitchen: Why SaaS customers should care about SOA?

If you are a customer that is using on-demand CRM, HR, Reporting, you may think that you probably need not bother about SOA. After all, SaaS is akin to ordering a meal at a restaurant rather than cooking one yourself.

But actually you should care about how the meal is prepared, metaphorically speaking, for several reasons esepecially when evaluating a new restaurant (SaaS vendor):

  • Reliability: Will their service be as good tomorrow as it is today? Any time you make a long-term commitment to a service, you need to be able to predict that the vendor will be around a year (or decade) from now and the quality will not deteriorate. In real life, we do this by relying on brands and reputation, and so is true in software. However, when dealing with a new restaurant, you may need to peek inside the kitchen.
  • Quality of Service: Will my food be free from E-Coli? Will my data be secure? How do I ensure compliane with HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley etc? You need to know that the burger meat was cooked to a certain temperature. In SaaS, you need to know that the software is hosted at a world-class data center, that the service provider is using a technology stack that provides security at all tiers (data, process and user interaction).
  • Manageability: Will my waiter understand what I need and help me pick the wine I want or should want! As you adopt SaaS, you will want a solution that not only provides the functionality be it CRM, HR or whatever but you also want to make sure that the users and IT will be able to manage their accounts, integrate with existing systems and processes, monitor usage, etc.
So, even though you as a customer are not responsible for development and on-going maintenance of the software, it is imperative that you have a good idea of the architecture and operations of your SaaS vendor. After all, as we all know thanks to Verizon when you buy a cell phone, what you are really buying is the network.

You don't want your SaaS vendor to drop your calls when it is time to close your quarter.

In another blog post, I will discuss why SaaS ISVs should and do care about SOA. This blog post was originally posted on

1 comment:

Rohit Gambhir said...

I totally agree on this on Anshu.We(Hewitt) are actually providing HRMS solutions in the form of SaaS to our clients and in lot of ways its important for the clients to know whats happening in the kitchen :)