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There can be no doubt that Software-as-a-Service solutions have risen to a high degree of influence in enterprise architectures over the past decade.
But that’s plain crazy.
SaaS software dramatically increases the code-base and complexity of your enterprise software stack.
It also splits up your corporate data into tiny bits.
This at a time when corporations are trying really-hard to reduce their IT complexity and maximize the value of their data.
Follow our logic argument:
Ours is a data-driven world
You can’t grow your business without knowing how it works
You can’t know how it works without good data
You can’t get good data when it’s not accessible for analysis
Adopting lots of SaaS is plain crazy
Head to Head
Open Source Ecosystems Versus SaaS Apps
Making a case for digital ecosystem-centric solutions powered by Open Source software platforms
Why SaaS software rocks!
The new world order of digital markets and technology ecosystems
The rise of enterprise information management powered by Open Source technologies
The problems with SaaS apps...
WHY SaaS SOFTWARE ROCKS!
Every organization today must be digital-enabled to survive.
It’s not a question of transforming digitally. Data is the foundation of customer value, sales, and order transactions that create wealth — and it is the basis of every decision.
At one time, enterprise IT happened within the firewalls and local area networks of a business. Not today.
Much of the data that organizations depend on is hosted and supported by third-party firms (think Dun & Bradstreet, Google Maps and LinkedIn).
And many of the consumers of enterprise data form part of the customer community (think Amazon), resource pool (Toptal, Upwork, FieldGlass...) or supply-chain (Intelex, TradeGecko).
In this new hyper-digital world, are SaaS apps the solution?
What is SaaS?
Software as a Service (SaaS) describes a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.
SaaS forms part of the cloud computing paradigm. While analyst firms tend to have various definitions, the enterprise IT industry generally agrees there are three essential building blocks:
Software as a Service (SaaS) — the applications that serve user needs.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) — the technology platform that facilitates the design, deployment and operation of applications.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) — the physical and operation technology infrastructure (hardware and software components) required to host the PaaS and SaaS layers.
It’s thought that over 95% of businesses run some form of SaaS software.
So obviously it’s the correct choice for your organization, right?
But we’re going to argue that investing in SaaS apps can disappoint more often than it delights.
The SaaS Halo
Talk to most people in business about SaaS and they’ll describe apps that are:
Platform-based and hosted by third-party vendors
Designed to fulfill discrete functional or process-specific needs
Easy to try before you buy
Provided on affordable monthly, quarterly or annual pricing terms
Benefit from vendors that have fine-grained domain knowledge in the subject of their choice
Are maintained, supported and upgraded by the vendor
Where vendors can:
Access markets faster (thanks to the scalability of hosting platforms and tools)
Focus their effort and resources on a niche market to gain a knowledge advantage
Maintain a common code platform that’s easier (and less costly) to enhance, upgrade and replicate
Rapidly gain a dominant market position through fast platform scaling
Better than before
Few would argue that, compared to traditional on-premise enterprise software, SaaS solutions offer credible and compelling advantages:
You can try before you buy
The provider is likely to be extremely knowledgeable about their subject and industry niche
SaaS apps are externally hosted and scalable
Modern SaaS apps benefit from cloud- and web-based technology ecosystems that offer richer data visualization, scalable databases, resilience and redundancy features — improving uptime
It's a big tent
While most of the thousands of SaaS solutions are designed to serve discrete needs, the world of SaaS is a big tent and, in addition to SaaS apps that serve business needs, also included are hosted software services that:
Serve consumer needs
Can be used to create apps (a-PaaS)
Can be used to host apps (a-IaaS)
Bring Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
Support Managed software as a service (MSaaS) and Mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)
…but for the purpose of this presentation, we’re going to focus on apps used in businesses to get work done and share information.
With all this...
It’s enough to believe that your best IT approach is to commit to a SaaS-first strategy.
So, why consider something else — and what would be the alternative?
THE NEW WORLD ORDER OF DIGITAL MARKETS AND DIGITAL ECOSYSTEMS
Digital Business — How the world has changed
When people speak of digital business and digital transformation, they point to the acceptance of a new trading environment characterized by:
Global markets characterized by a battle to win online communities, where business valuations have less to do with asset valuations, and more to do with market access and brand appeal
A seismic scaling of data volumes further aided by big data, blockchain markets and the Internet of Things (IoT) supporting millions of online connected sensor-based data capture devices
An always-on world where buyers spend over 80 percent of their buying cycle involved in personal discovery before engaging with a supplier
A commercial environment that has exaggerated compliance risks (including risk of data loss and data privacy concerns)
Data-centric decisions being made almost instantaneously
Where supply-chains blur and market structures change so rapidly that the biggest challenges for leadership teams are to decide what business they’re in and how well their business model is performing
Communities — The new battleground
The world has become a battle for communities:
Buying communities of niche customers with spending power that are easily characterized and targeted by focused vendors
Internal communities of interest (and outcome) that exist within an enterprise, focused around their passions, vocations, industries or activities
Communities of experts that offer a rich source of knowledge
Communities of supplier partners, brokers and intermediaries that offer a route to market
Smart organizations know that if they understand and can bring value to the most important communities that influence their success, this will assure them of a greater lifespan than any investment in assets or design innovation.
Business Model Performance — The No. 1 Shareholder Issue
Business models describe how a business creates wealth by delivering value to its customers.
The efficiency of a business model lies in its ability to achieve outcomes for clients and shareholders at the lowest friction cost per transaction.
Some business models are inherently more profitable than others. For example, when companies create software and then sell it many times (as in the case of SaaS solutions), the operating costs are substantially reduced. Furthermore, they will look to deliver all related services online through self-service provisioning to minimize costs.
Shareholders are increasingly aware of the influence that business models play in translating commercial ideas into profits. Examples like Amazon.com, Lastminute.com, Uber, AirBnB, Facebook and Notonthehighstreet.com illustrate the influence optimized business models can have today.
Ultimately, an effective business model should:
Maximize customer experience
Minimize operating costs
McKinsey projects that, by 2025, housing ecosystems will generate annual revenues approaching $3.8 trillion globally.
All told, about half of the home buyers surveyed were receptive to digital platform solutions, and an additional 25 percent would be receptive under the right conditions.
Of six segments identified, four were markedly enthusiastic — and two especially so.
In one, the “convenience seekers,” respondents were on average about 40 years old and accounted for 23 percent of the survey sample.
The group indicated a marked willingness to share much of their personal data with ecosystem developers and to pay for the guidance and convenience of an integrated digital search and purchasing process.
Convenience seekers are a young demographic, yet they are seasoned; more than half had gone through the home-buying process previously.
Business Orchestration — Top-Down Automation
Making a business model efficient means automating it. A focus on business models is transforming how leadership teams think about automation.
Over the last decade, we have seen a dramatic change in the way organizations tackle automation.
Today, more than ever before, organizations have become interested in top-down orchestration of their business models. Recognition of the importance of transforming digitally is creating a sense of urgency within management teams not to fall behind, but also to recognize the immense influence IT has to play in a digital world.
IT has become bigger than the IT department. It is an integral part of customer value creation and efficient, cost-effective, service delivery.
Recent history of enterprise IT solutions
1990 was the era of enterprise platforms when technologies like Oracle, SAP, BusinessObjects, ESRI, Siebel, and Documentum became must-have building blocks.
The 2000s saw the rise of workflow automation and business process management (BPM) tools, where, instead of focusing on tools, attention moved to the automation of end-to-end processes.
2010 saw a shift towards discrete IT needs, as departmental leaders, frustrated with the slow-paced development of apps from IT, turned to SaaS software solutions.
2015 saw the introduction of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and the further exacerbation of department-focused solutions, this time aided by software robots.
2018 brought business model performance into sharp focus with the popularization of blockchain and IoT solutions, and proliferation of AR/VR/AI solutions.
Taking a top-down approach to automation avoids wasted resources resulting from automation downstream work tasks (or processes) made obsolete or unnecessary by business model change or refinement.
Digital Ecosystem — The Competitive Edge
A digital ecosystem supports the fullest extent of a business model orchestration, bringing value to the communities of interest. By its nature, an ecosystem is designed to operate efficient processes across and beyond the enterprise.
Digital platforms must, therefore, be able to:
Manage identities across heterogeneous identity management systems — for example, where contributors belong to different organizational entities and have private or company email addresses
Harvest, manage and distribute data between users and hybrid groups and teams
Offer the functional tool-sets needed to fulfill application use cases
Support the application life-cycle of designing, operating, supporting and succession of apps
Offer the commercial affordability to make it viable to operate the technology infrastructure within the economics of the business model
Maintain strict data security and governance
Ensure that platform overheads — in the form of technical support, training, upgrades, and enhancement — do not result in sub-optimal performance, a legacy burden or unsustainable costs
Consider what your business is buying
One of the challenges that organizations face when exploring enterprise IT these days is the inability of stakeholders to agree on what they need to buy when:
Senior executives driving growth know they need a digital ecosystem but don’t know how to get it
IT leaders gravitate toward useful technology building blocks that bring functionality into their tech stacks without adding a legacy burden
DevOps leaders want agile-centric code-free/code-lite development platforms blended with large data visualization libraries and access to big data and cloud technologies they don’t want to maintain
Departmental managers want plug-and-play solutions that fulfill their business requirements and offer an instant remedy to their immediate workload woes so they can go home on time!
The consequence of all of these unresolved "pull forces" is that, in the absence of a thought-through strategy, short-term department needs win out, leading organizations to buy into a smorgasbord of "quick-win" SaaS applications.
The rise of enterprise information management powered by Open Source technologies
The technology you need for an enterprise digital ecosystem
Enterprise knowledge management success stories over two decades point to the following fundamentals as essential for making collaboration work across any enterprise:
Teams with a common goal or interest need a single place where they can access, manage and share information
Solutions need to not just fit the operational need, but be intuitive for users
Any-time access (i.e., via web browser and mobile device) is essential, as people don’t share content "after the moment"
A key capability of any information management system is the ability to create, manage and share tasks — orchestrate escalations, and minimize time spent "organizing instead of doing"
For digital ecosystems, an additional layer of capabilities is needed:
To manage heterogeneous email IDs, so customers, suppliers, remote workers and contractors can contribute to online communities
To make data accessible, yet secure, for viewers and editors of data both within and beyond the firewall
Supporting web, extranet and intranet requirements so that one platform can serve all stakeholders
Why Open Source is growing in popularity
There are many reasons. Here are a few:
Fundamentally, Open Source software is of extremely high quality, and it works. It offers the capabilities growing organizations need and equips them to rapidly innovate to build a competitive advantage.
Open Source software like WikiSuite is made available to business users for free. It means that companies can invest more in tailoring and enhancing their technology ecosystem to maximize their ability to deliver the best customer value and automate more processes.
Open Source shares the tasks of maintaining and enhancing code across a huge community, removing lock-in to any given commercial provider. The vast size of communities means businesses have more choice in who they choose to work with as technology partners.
Unlike with commercial software, buyers are not tied into un-budgeted upgrade costs and can avoid the legacy-burden risks that pervade in single-source software solutions.
What makes Open Source good/best for information management?
The WikiSuite information management platform is recognized the world over as a proven IT solution that businesses can shape to fit their needs.
A key construct of WikiSuite is Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware (or "Tiki"), a web application combining the features of a wiki, a content management system (CMS) and groupware.
Tiki Trackers are used to record feature requests and bug reports.
Tiki Forums are used by the community for discussions and troubleshooting.
Tiki Wiki pages and structures are used to develop end-user and developer documentation.
The unique task management approach of Tiki increases productivity and teamwork.
The societal argument for Open Source
In addition to the good economic and technology reasons to use WikiSuite, there are also good societal arguments for businesses to adopt an Open Source first policy:
Open Source helps companies large and small to innovate faster. It helps economies to scale innovation faster with funds from larger firms, contributing to the tech tools of smaller firms and start-ups — while still being rewarded for their investments by enjoying better solutions!
Income earned through the commissioning, enhancement and training services provided for WikiSuite is distributed more evenly to contributors around the world.
Investments in Open Source make technology available to more communities around the world, giving less-wealthy pockets of enthusiastic people access to the tools they need to innovate.
Cases where Open Source has proven its worth
Case stories go here...
Key strengths of Open Source platforms for digital ecosystems
For years, enterprise IT was dominated by companies like SAP that offer a brand promise of delivering hard-coded best practice process automation via their software. So the argument goes, using their software forces users to work in the right way.
But that was then. Today, the focus is on business model orchestration, not on inflexible systems of record designed to make data entry for workers simpler. Tech systems now capture data through the activities of customers and suppliers (and via third-party systems like Amazon and LinkedIn), so expectations have changed.
The WikiSuite Open Source platform equips businesses to create an information management ecosystem for customers, suppliers, contractors and employees that are a 100 percent* fit to their needs.
- Many IT projects using commercial software run out of money or enthusiasm before they’re suitably tailored to fit the user requirements — principally because the software tools are too inflexible, demand too many skills, or are simply too costly to change.
Overcoming Data Security Ignorance
Let’s dispel any potential myths about WikiSuite security concerns.
Our code development approach prevents the risk of code containing viruses being added by unscrupulous people
We conduct penetration testing
We check our code
We take steps to prohibit concatenation attacks
We safeguard passwords using techniques like anonymization of admin passwords and hexed password
-- just like any other enterprise software company!
How we support...
Ensuring that data or an information system is accessed by only an authorized person
Ensuring that the data or information system can be trusted and edited by only authorized persons, remaining in its original state when at rest
Ensuring that data and information systems are available when required
Some Key Facts
LDAP User / Group Management
Sets up radius for LDAP users
Creates and manages user group policies
Intrusion Detection / Protection
Provides 13,000+ additional signatures
Weekly updates to keep up with the latest threats
Protects from SSH, FTP, POP3 brute force attacks
Prevents users from visiting sites designed to steal information
Protects users' personal information such as passwords and financial data
Provides user registration
Maintains user activity logs
Specifies user (Group) rights
Firewall / VPN
Administrators can open ports or port ranges for services
Custom firewall rules
Block a particular IP or entire networks
Enhanced network security
Anti-Virus / Anti-Spam
Prevents virus attacks against desktops, laptops, smartphones
Provides a gateway perimeter
Filters non-encrypted web traffic and FTP downloads
Anti-virus engine is based on ClamAV
Automatic updates with latest virus signatures
Stops email spam
Daily anti-spam signature updates
Encrypted volumes to protect confidential data from unauthorized access in the event the server is physically compromised
Data is stored in encrypted format unless volume is mounted
Mounting a volume requires a password
Uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Twofish algorithm to encrypt password databases
The complete database is encrypted, not only the passwords
A master password is hashed using SHA-256
Protection against dictionary and guessing attacks
In-memory password protection
The problems with SaaS apps
SaaS apps can be useful for very niche use cases but there's a big downside to using them
They fragment your data assets
It’s more important than ever for organizations to be able to govern, re-use, re-purpose and harness their data to maximize its value. Knowing what data is valuable, where it exists and how it is protected are essential factors in a modern digital business.
They create complexity and Increase IT costs
Up to 60 percent of the data structures, features, and processes that are built into any application are common to all. Ultimately, business apps are about the management of user identities and permissions, data structures and interoperability, user interfaces, logic rules and escalations, reporting and visualization, data security and governance, etc. When you buy SaaS apps, many of these features are replicated, increasing IT complexity and legacy burden.
--They increase IT costs
Up ?? [Content was repeated from previous point]
They don’t offer a best-fit solution
SaaS apps only answer a small part of your business model orchestration needs. They tinker at the edges and provide some useful automation of non-core processes, but they don’t offer the technology platform capabilities you’ll need to satisfy all the needs of all your stakeholders in one platform.
They don’t yield a competitive advantage
Like the traditional on-premise apps that came before them, SaaS apps need consistency in their code-block, features, and capabilities to be profitable to vendors. That means, when you invest in SaaS apps, you get the same as every one of your competitive peers. No differential. No competitive edge.
Open Source is more capable than you could ever imagine
EvoluData is a global information management company serving large enterprises.
We leverage value from WikiSuite by creating ready-to-play solutions for our clients around the world. We educate and promote the use of the WikiSuite Open Source digital platform, and we offer turnkey solutions to meet your very specific information management management needs.
We get the job done of winning new customers (and keeping them) by providing a portfolio of business-critical information services. Examples are listed below.
- Website Content Management
- Shopping Cart
- Event Management
- Sales Force Management & CRM
- Digital Signage
- Customer Support
Explore three ways to make collaboration work
- Project Teams — Improve efficiency and reduce the volume of emails by using shared project management tools
- Social Networking — Empower people to interact and help each other around a common interest.
- Membership Management — Effectively manage member lists and communications.
Case examples of knowledge management in practice teach us that sharing knowledge requires teams to have a common goal and/or purpose. It demands a unifying "place to share" knowledge and wisdom.
- Knowledge Base — Preserve and share knowledge.
- Multilingual Glossary — Collaborate on a list of terms and their translations.
- Collaborative Book — Work together on the same book (annual report, thesis... ).
Train employees or customers with our learning platform that grows and adapts to your needs.
- Webinars — Deliver and record webinars.
- Calendar — Manage a calendar of webinars and have your team update them.
- Self-Registration — Encourage online registration.
Take the next step to discovering Open Source