Does IT matter? Some thoughts on SaaS


due to a current incident I was just pointed again on this statement:

"Does IT matter?"

The background is a current project around a Software as a Service based solution. Don't get me wrong: There are lots of applications where SaaS totally makes sense but not all.

So first let's think what a pure SaaS solution means:

The application as well as the data is stored "in the cloud".  

(I do here a simplification I know).

Is this enough? Sorry, no. But there are lots of people thinking that it actually is enough and it is totally understandable. If you see IT as a simple tool not as a strategic asset then you can stop reading here.

But IT can do more if you release its powers. How can this work? Well, let's extend our definition...

There is this nice architecture model with 4 distinct steps to make a SaaS application. It is all about making the application scalable and lower the invest per customer instance in CPU and memory while preserving the agility in it. Applications have to be highly customizable. It starts with the logo in the top left and ends customer specific processes.

So I would add:

The application is highly customizable.

Is this enough? Sorry, still no. Data buried in islands is dead data. How can we unlock the data from different systems and combine it. So I would like to add:

By using mashups you have a certain way of combining data and process it to come up with new insights.

Now, we are getting nearer. Still I am missing something. While mashups are nice and can certainly bring up lots of solutions (and actually I am eager to see what users will do with it). But mashups work on the client side which means

* Lots of data has to be transported to the client. Hopefully the query functions on the servers support detailed queries otherwise it results in even more data.

* The client has to be open and online

The possible solution is to upload all or parts of the mashup on the server with all the drawbacks that comes with the upload of unknown code to servers ;-) or keep the code on your client. Ups, sounds like S+S...