Monday, September 14, 2009

Operational Fatigue and on-demand services

#saas #cloud computing
I was reading Dani Shomron's blog and he was discussing the differences between software engineers and operations engineers. See his post here - Discipline (or lack thereof) and Operational Fatigue.

I spent most of the time while reading this nodding in agreement. In a lot of projects I've been involved in recently this difference keeps coming up and it amazes me how many companies choose to ignore it or dismiss it as a problem at all.

The world is changing for software companies. Not only have they to deal with the normal pressures of competition, regulation, cost pressure etc but they also must adapt to the fast emerging requirements from their customer base for new on-demand delivery models (e.g. SaaS – Software-as-a-Service). These companies have to consider SaaS delivery for two primary reasons:

  1. Their current customer base is demanding it
  2. They need to unlock new markets for their products and on-demand delivery is an ideal way to do this (particularly for 2nd and 3rd tier markets)

Successful software companies excel at designing products, writing and testing software, and providing quality professional services capabilities. They also know how to market and sell software and in many cases to establish partnerships. These capabilities are mostly the same regardless of sector. On-demand or SaaS delivery models require different capabilities in operations, customer support, infrastructure (servers, power, storage, databases, networking), security, performance and load testing, continuous service improvement, IT Service Management, and specifically how to master the model of selling services rather than software. We developed the diagram below to illustrate the contrasts between these models.

We spend a lot of time working with software companies to provide the Service piece of the Software-as-a-Service model, which allows them to focus on what they do best – writing software.

The sooner software companies stop looking at on-demand / SaaS models from a technology perspective and start focusing on the service end of things the better. As James Urquhart from Cisco says: "The Cloud isn't a technology, it's an operational model."

ZeroTouch IT Ltd