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Ways and Approach to Migrate Classic Enterprise Applications to SaaS

Introduction

There are three simple ways to explain the usage of cloud business; SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

  • IaaS: cloud-based services, pay-as-you-go such as storage, networking, and virtualization.
  • PaaS: hardware and software tools ready to use on the internet.
  • SaaS: software managed by third-party over the internet.

Mostly SaaS and IaaS are used in combination for cloud computing service models, and developers are engaged to create applications using PaaS.

Enterprises are actively thinking over moving their entire business application to cloud-based SaaS applications. The key reason behind migrating enterprise application to SaaS is that it delivers many business benefits, unlocks innovation and improves user experience. No wonder Enterprises finds software as a service (SaaS) delivery model a very compelling proposition. Other benefits of this application such as market responsiveness, dexterity, shared infrastructure costs factors play a major role in transforming the whole approach to doing businesses.

Delivering SaaS solutions to customers using a platform like Amazon Web Services (AWS) is reliable due to its secure foundation and low in expenditure. The companies that work with AWS Partner Network (APN) not only build a successful AWS-based business but also gets valuable business, technical, marketing, and go-to-market (GTM) support.

Pre-requisites before deciding on migration

An enterprise while deciding on the migration of enterprise application to SaaS considers various parameters. It is important to have a clear intent and purpose as to why this migration is important for the enterprise. Some of the reasons for taking such a move are the following:

  • Greater scalability
  • Business dexterity, collaboration and flexibility
  • Easy access by a mobile workforce
  • Improved security
  • To bring down the software maintenance effort
  • Improved analytics on application usage
  • Better availability and responsiveness
  • Proper compliance with laws and regulations (e.g., on privacy, data residency, or trade compliance)
  • Reduced and/or re-allocated infrastructure costs

Choosing SaaS Solution over the other applications

SaaS applications have captured most of the businesses. It is omnipresent be it the CRM, ERP software, project management, email marketing, collaboration software, vertical applications etc. Tasks related to planning, and pricing and quoting, accounting, invoicing, sales, all can be performed through SaaS.

SaaS applications are managed by a third-party vendor and it uses the web to deliver its applications and most of its applications can be run directly from a web browser avoiding any downloads or installations. Another benefit of this web delivery model is that it eliminated the complexity to install and run its applications on individual computers.

It can be implemented through various methods depending on the customer’s need, market requirement and business scenario. If a company decides to embrace the dynamic profile of SaaS, it has to revamp the fundamentals of its business approach. This can be a bit intriguing as there is no single strategy for implementing SaaS solutions. It is primarily dictated by the unique needs of customers, markets, and businesses which dictate the flavor of SaaS that best fits the market ecosystem.

An enterprise can think of taking up a Saas solution for delivering products for several reasons:

Better Efficiency: Focuses on the development and support of a singular version of the product thereby saving on time and money.

Flexibility: Companies also understand that customers prefer a flexible way to consume the product.

Dexterity: SaaS enables easy control and releases upgrades to ensure that the benefits of product innovation reach out to all the customers equally.

Expanding market boundaries: It expands the customer base across new geographies, different size segments, and new verticals.

Multitenant Architecture: Multi-tenancy SaaS is economical to use because the software development and maintenance costs are shared. It caters to all types of SaaS vendors from small customers who don’t have the dedicated infrastructure, to the large enterprise that needs access to the unlimited resources present in the cloud.

Clients or Vendors using SaaS applications share the same infrastructure and a centralized codebase. This kind of a set up allows the clients to go for frequent innovations and saves their precious time which was otherwise spent on maintaining numerous versions of outdated code.

Implementing multi-tenancy in a cloud-hosted software service can be challenging because one must ensure that the performance and resource consumption of one tenant does not adversely affect other tenants. This is known as tenant isolation and it depends on the type of component being shared, the process supported by the component and the location of the component on the cloud application, such as application level, platform level, or infrastructure level. For instance, the degree of isolation required for a component bound by strict laws and regulations would be much higher than that of a component that has to be reconfigured for some tenants with specific requirements.

Role of automation/DevOps in migration

The process of Migrations requires cautious, planning at multiple levels, and a deep, understanding among the cross-discipline about the platform intricacies. This can’t be done without the involvement and cooperation of a wide range of domain experts. Right from platform architects to operations experts, to developer resources; there is a high degree of planning and attention is to be paid on maintaining team coherence.

At every step of the implementation process, there can be multiple incompatibilities, so to resolves, these issues, bridge the multiple disciplines, and realign the scattered interests; advanced technology teams must evolve their DevOps practices.
AWS explains DevOps as a useful amalgamation of tools that increase an organization’s productivity and its ability to deliver fast speed services, cultural missions and visions, developing and improving products at a faster pace in contrast with the organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. Companies serving its customers in a committed period give an edge in the market over its competitors. So, adopting a DevOps model can have a vital impact on the success of your migration to the cloud.

They play a key role in bringing about several short and long-term business benefits, such as significantly lower deployment risks, repeatability, auditability, and quicker iteration cycles. All these factors are crucial to improved operational excellence, employee retention, better security posture, and improved competitive advantage.

Rollout strategy

The enterprise should devise proper strategy while implementing SaaS application. Following parameters can guide an enterprise to strategize the SaaS implementation in the right way:

Be clear on the Business requirement.

It is very important to have a clear understanding of the requirements of the business because this a clear sense of business requirement helps to design and develop the right kind of system and application. The enterprise must set goals and objects at the initial stage itself to achieve better results. They should be able to ponder on the following points to lead the application process in the right direction:

  • The process to design the application so that it can run without any hassle.
  • Understanding the different categories of end-users.
  • The application response in terms of Security, Scalability, Failover issues.

Apart from these questions, equal attention should be paid to identify the challenges that the existing application, system or the process is facing.

Choosing the right team for the task

There should a team of seasoned developers who are well versed with the concept of SaaS. The Team should comprise of the members who are expert in multiple technologies and can understand the best practices followed in the industry.

Robust infrastructure

Enterprises should endeavor to build the infrastructure that has the right set of components such as:

  • Network infrastructure – connectivity and security
  • Data center
  • Hardware
  • Backup and monitoring tools

Enterprise should also activate their internal review to evaluate the cost-benefit-related issues while building the infrastructure.

How AWS services can solve business and SaaS domain challenges.

AWS provides a robust foundation for building SaaS solutions. It has the resources and tools designed for all stage of the product journey. Starting from assessing a suitable delivery model for the product design and product optimization, to expanding the customer base- it caters throughout the cycle of product development. AWS Marketplace enables an enterprise to discover, buy, and launch dozens of SaaS products.

Factors that makes AWS the right choice for SaaS application are discussed below:

Modernization

AWS tools are designed to facilitate a faster time-to-market for SaaS providers. Quicker innovations supported by AWS enables SaaS companies with new services and capabilities to improve the features, cost, and management profile of their solutions.

Scalability and Availability

SaaS products critically depend on the Uptime and the ability to quickly respond to continually evolving workloads. AWS provides a wide range of competences which can align with the uptime requirements of SaaS environments.

Pay as per Usage

Cost Optimization & management is essential to SaaS environments. With the flexibility of the AWS environment, SaaS solutions can be built to match the infrastructure of the multi-tenant load.

Security and Compliance

Data security and privacy are of utmost concern for the Customers and AWS take Cloud security at its highest priority. AWS has its own data center and network architecture built to meet the requirements of the most security-sensitive organizations.

SaaS offers you considerable opportunities to avoid the risks and expense of software acquisition. It transforms the IT Department into an active, value-producing part of your enterprise. Enterprise can hugely benefit from the flexibility and risk-management implications by adding SaaS to their portfolio of IT services.

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