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ISV fast track to SaaS
Organisations increasingly use full-blown SaaS solutions. If you are an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) offering a traditional software solution you are running the risk of losing customers to SaaS alternatives despite the richness of your application.
Although it takes years to rearchitect your software to a full blown SaaS solution, we have an elegant solution that allows you to offer your customers the benefits of SaaS within months. This buys you time and offers you many direct benefits.
There are various reasons driving customers away from your traditional software solution toward SaaS:
- Customers expect flexible and transparent pricing based on the number of users and functionality. A traditional software solution is the exact opposite of this: infrastructure housing, hosting, OS and RDBMS licenses, SI costs etc.
- Customers and their System Integrators lack the expertise to host and run your software well. This can lead to performance and security issues and finger pointing regarding whose fault it is.
- Customers are moving increasingly towards modern workplaces that do not use Windows as the means of delivery and consumption of applications. Your Windows fat client application is on the black list of legacy applications holding organisations back from modernising their workplace.
- Organisations are moving towards the use of cloud identity providers using Single Sign On (SSO) to provide access to their users. Moving to SSO using SAML2 or OIDC is difficult with a windows fat client front end.
In addition to these customer wishes there is a real opportunity cost of staying with a traditional software solution:
- An installed base with heterogeneous versions of your software leads to complexity in support with the bug fixing activities fragmented across many versions of the software.
- Windows fat client applications have to interact with various OS versions and in case of integrations with Office via plugins the complexity grows geometrically.
- You are facing a continuous struggle to convince customers to upgrade to newer versions of software. This translates into uncertainty regarding future revenues because these depend largely on the number of upgrades.
- You are uncertain regarding user engagement; a sold license does not confer any information about the intensity and way of use of the software.
- Depending on the software license rules of your product, you either suffer revenue loss due to software incompliance or you are imposing an inelastic user model on your customers.
- It is cumbersome to offer prospective customers trials and/or demos and this restricts the addressable market and impedes conversion and growth.
- Large part of the TCO of your software is not captured by you (housing, hosting, technical application maintenance, OS & RDBMS licences, disaster recovery, projects such as updates, upgrades etc.).
The key challenge ISVs like you face is the length of time required to move from your current architecture to a full-blown SaaS architecture. Such a journey lasts years but it is uncertain whether your customers will grant you this time.
Our solution: we have a team who have faced and have overcome the exact same challenge while working for ISVs. We have developed an approach that allows you to realise 80% of the end customer benefits within weeks without having to rearchitect your application. In this manner you buy yourself time to move towards a full blown SaaS model without running the risk of losing customers.
After a rapid lift and shift to the AWS cloud, you arrive at an intermediate stage 2. Your customers have transferred several responsibilities to you and you are now taking care of running the application (see figure 2). In this stage, your software application structure is left unchanged, but you use the AWS Platform as a Service offerings. With these you can optimise the running of your application including the lifecycle management activities. Getting to this stage can be achieved in a relatively short period (see figure 3). Once you have set up this new structure, you can transfer your customers to AWS and offer them a SaaS experience. Your customers benefit directly and you have created a window to refactor your application into a full-blown SaaS solution.
There are many benefits to reaching stage 2 in the AWS cloud:
The application is already SaaS in the eyes of the customer. The Windows fat client can be streamed as a web application using Amazon AppStream 2.0. This managed service allows you to package windows applications and stream them to a web browser. AppStream offers multiple benefits:
- Supports modern workplaces (web based, iOS or Android based etc.)
- Integrates with cloud identity providers via SAML2.
- Can also integrate with AD.
- Controlled Windows environment where the fat client application is running (homogeneity => stability and predictability).
- Variable costs: you pay per user and per use for the service.
- Highly scalable/elastic.
The infrastructure is optimised for good performance leading to happier customers.
Increase in sales
Enlarged addressable market for your application.
Easy to set up demo and trial environments because these can be accessed via a web browser and the building of a trial environment is automated and takes minutes to realise.
Ability to track engagement of users during trials and therefore improved engagement with prospects leads to higher conversion. AppStream allows you to track whether a user has logged into your application and how long he used it.
No need to build an infra team – you can continue focussing on your core strength: software development. The alternative is to use colocation or the private cloud to host your application forcing you to develop hardware and software infrastructure skills.
By using the “infrastructure as code” principles of the public cloud, you can script the creation of each tenant. This saves time, increases quality and ensures homogeneity.
Superior AWS global infrastructure does the heavy lifting and offers directly: high availability, disaster recovery, global set of data centres, encryption of data at rest and in transit, selection of location where the system is running, GDPR compliance.
Use of Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings lead to robust, secure and instantly available infrastructure: network and application load balancers, firewalls, relational database service (Amazon Aurora, MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.), server monitoring service, server patching service, Active Directory service, backup service.
All customers run on the latest version of your software. Bug fixes and adaptations to retain legal conformity need to be applied only to the latest version.
No effort required to convince customers to upgrade.
No need for software audits or loss of license revenue due to license incompliance.
100% of the TCO goes through you. If you lower the TCO you can either pass on the benefit to your customers or increase your margin. Some examples of how you can achieve this already as a Proto-SaaS supplier:
- Use of Amazon Babelfish to eliminate expensive SQL server licenses.
- Better sizing of hardware: each virtual machine can be resized at will with the largest range of machines in the industry. This allows you to match supply with demand (pay for only what you need) and offer superior performance to your customers..
- More efficient use of hardware. The AWS Nitro virtualisation engine is much more efficient than VMWare or HyperV. This means that more than 98% of the hardware you are paying for is available to you.
The AWS cloud provides flexibility to adjust customer sizing without leading to disinvestments (pay as you go versus traditional investment based approach).
Third party licenses such as OS and RDBMS licenses are also offered as a service; you pay these licenses per hour without any commitment.
Benefits of working with us
We are an Advanced AWS consulting partner with expertise in the AWS infrastructure and tools.
A leadership team of founders of ISV companies who have gone through the ISV journey and understand your challenges.
We help you migrate from Stage 1 to Stage 2 rapidly and this buys you time to move to Stage 3.
Direct maximisation of benefits for your customers.
Downloads & resources
A Forrester Consulting thought leadership paper commissioned by Amazon Web Services. Read how you can accelerate your cloud adoption with Application Streaming.
An AWS AppStream Solutions brief. Read how Amazon AppStream 2.0 can help ISVs can accelerate application adoption with online delivery.
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