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It seems the only certainty in today's business environment is uncertainty. Market volatility, rising operating costs, regulatory compliance, globalization and escalating competition have combined to put enormous pressure on today's enterprise businesses.



Despite the challenges posed by the accelerating pace of change, most companies are energized by the turbulence, and are aggressively seeking out ways to improve their competitive positions. Technology-fueled innovations and alternatives -- like on-demand software models -- are not only cutting costs, but creating new revenue-generating opportunities.

SaaS for success

Driven by a growing frustration with the costs and complexities associated with traditional, on-premise applications, traditional business models for selling software products and applications are being replaced by incremental pay-per-use service models like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). In fact, Gartner predicts that 33 percent of all Independent Software Vendor (ISV) applications will be optionally or exclusively offered as SaaS within next three years.

Enterprises are adopting SaaS solutions faster than any other software delivery model. Yet, the hurdles for ISVs are substantial when considering a move to SaaS. From revenue interruption to customer and data migration, the business challenges are as complex as the technical issues.

Fortunately, a recipe for success may be easier than you think. Understanding the critical stages involved -- from preparation to consumption to delivery -- will enable enterprises to effectively navigate the transition to SaaS, in order to address new markets and substantially reduce infrastructure costs.

Preparation

A typical ISV application today is based on the conventional three-tier architecture. The application is either consumed completely over the web, entirely deployed on premise on the desktop, or a hybrid approach. While the usage of well-known patterns already manifests into loose coupling of the components within the architecture, the advent of software oriented architecture (SOA) and web services has made loose coupling increasingly widespread.

Even with the loose coupling and the modularized service based architecture, only a single tenant can be served by the compete architecture -- this could mean either a single user for a desktop application or a complete enterprise for applications like CRM or ERP. Thus, in order to serve multiple tenants, an organization requires multiple instances of the same bits that constitute the application.

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