6 Tips for ISV’s to Modernise and offer SaaS using Cloud
Most companies now have a cloud-first strategy and are looking to move as many workloads as they can into the cloud. The days of delivering monolithic software on-site appear to be limited and with cloud native application and SaaS services being offered in many verticals; we take a look at how to keep up with the “born in the cloud” SaaS disruptors and the 6 key considerations to enable your business to offer a competitive SaaS solution.
1. Understand Multi-Tenanted
Deploying on-prem on a 1:1 ratio presents drawbacks when you try and shift this model to the cloud. Cost base will be higher as you will be sharing less infrastructure, release cycles are still slow and you cannot control availability as it will be specific to individual clients.
To offer isolation to customers in a multi-tenanted environment you need to use a serverless model and ensure you have strict IAM controls (Identity Access Management). Leveraging serverless technology removes the need to have scaling policies and allows you to place most of the operational burden on the provider.
You now have responsibility for the data – when you deploy your software on a client’s infrastructure you are just responsible for the software, when you start to offer SaaS you are also responsible for the data being hosted on the server.
What security measures do you have or need in place? Have you changed your terms and conditions to reflect this enhanced responsibility? Will your service require accreditation or compliance with industry regulations? Has you operating model been amended? These are all questions you need to consider and work with your partners to establish your costing and operating model for SaaS.
Creating a scalable architecture means you don’t limit yourself in the future by decisions you make today. Working with the right partner is so important to ensure you get the foundations right at the very start. You should isolate each of your development teams using RESTful services to facilitate rapid prototyping and development. Having this separation also allows you to offer different tiers of service for your customers if you wish to offer choice across SMB and Enterprise.
Having an API-driven approach makes it much simpler to provide access to third parties to extend your application, offer reporting or import and export data.
4. Infrastructure as Code (IAC)
An entire book could be written about IAC, however for SaaS providers it should be considered as best practice to deploy infrastructure. It offers standardisation, deployment automation (CI/CD) and increased productivity and efficiency in software development. If you are not using IAC with your cloud native SaaS solution, then you should be!
5. Use modern alternatives
The leading public cloud providers offer a huge array of services to help you modernise your legacy processes. Is your partner working with you to explore these and take advantage? Batch processing is a quick example, you can leverage queues and streams to decouple services and offer a real-time alternative to batch processes. With these serverless cloud options, you can transition from a batch/schedule paradigm to an event-based paradigm.
6. Partnerships & Co-Managed
The market is changing as your customers’ requirements change. You need the ability to react, scale rapidly and stay ahead of the competition. Finding the right partner who can offer you guidance and support in a constantly evolving environment is critical. Ensuring that your environment is built correctly using well architected principles is key to the success of any SaaS model and enables it to grow seamlessly.
In addition, a defined RACI matrix is a must. Who is responsible for what? At the end of the day, it’s your relationship with your customer that counts. Is your CSP/MSP offering you the platform you need to deliver the very best for your customers?
So, where do you start? ANS’s ISV and digital team are posed many questions by our customers on these subjects each week. Just a few are referenced above, but we know that each ISV is unique. We run free workshops to support businesses looking to dive deeper into their cloud adoption plans and our friendly team love to help and provide advice that speeds dev teams along on their digital transformation journey. Please go ahead and get in touch to find out more.
Written by Gary Greenall, Industry Lead for ISV & Digital at ANS