Top Five Ways ISVs Can Utilize Cloud to Modernise SaaS Applications

by Sandeep Bhargava, Managing Director, APJ

A software developer typing code on his laptop with code displayed on two additional monitors


Software as a service or SaaS is a common term used in many industries. SaaS plays a role in most organisations' cloud or modernisation strategies. But are all SaaS platforms equal?  I'm not talking about the product's features; I'm talking about the SaaS platform itself.  I'm talking about the application and underlying infrastructure architecture.  There's SaaS, and then there's SaaS.

As a buyer, you may ask, "Who cares what's under the hood?" Let me explain why you should care.  If a SaaS provider has a single-tenant, monolithic application that needs to be deployed on-site, then this architecture model will present drawbacks. 

  1. Being single-tenant, their cost base will be higher due to a lack of shared infrastructure.
  2. Being monolithic, their release cycles will be slower and prone to more errors.
  3. Being deployed on-site means, they can't leverage the smarts of cloud and can't control availability.
  4. They risk being surpassed by "born-in-the-cloud" competitors who have none of these limitations.  Will they be around in two to three years?

As an independent software vendor (ISV), it's written on the wall. If you don't have a truly SaaS architecture, you need to modernise and fast.  From a technical perspective, here are my top five areas to focus on if you're an ISV looking to SaaS-ify your applications.


Embrace Multi-tenant Architecture

Isolation of customers in a multi-tenant architecture is straightforward if you leverage a serverless model and organise access through Identity Access Management (IAM) controls.  No point in building role-based access control (RBAC) systems yourselves. This stuff is offered out of the box on cloud. 

Leveraging a serverless architecture removes the need to continually manage scaling policies. Instead, make it the platform's responsibility.  Serverless services also have the benefit of removing much of the operational burden from you and placing it firmly on the provider.


Create a Flexible, Scalable Architecture

By using RESTful services, each development team's work is isolated from one another. This facilitates rapid prototyping and development.  This compartmentalisation also allows you to offer different quality of services tiers for your customers.

This API-driven approach makes it straightforward to provide access to third parties (or vice versa) to extend your application, import/export data, or offer reporting.


Adopt Infrastructure as Code

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is the best practice approach to deploying infrastructure. Of course, you could write a whole article on its own about this. But, for starters, an IaC platform can package different SaaS platforms for multiple deployment options and cloud marketplaces.

Additionally, some immediate benefits are standardisation, deployment automation (CI/CD), quicker bug fixing, and increased productivity and efficiency in software development.


Consider Using the Strangler Pattern

The strangler pattern is a method of incrementally migrating an architecture from a monolith to microservices.  By using an API routing structure, the user activity is directed to the new micro-service when each feature/function is released as a micro-service. 

This has a range of benefits as it avoids the big bang approach, which is inherently risky. In addition, it creates a rapid way of failing back. It also allows you to dark launch where you duplicate user traffic and send it to a new micro-service for testing.


Replace Legacy Process with Modern Alternatives

Cloud providers have a plethora of services that help modernise legacy processes such as batch processing.  For example, leverage queues and streams to decouple services and offer a real-time alternative to batch processes. With these serverless cloud options, you can transition from a batch/schedule paradigm to an event-based paradigm.


Solving Together™

Every ISV is looking to reinvent itself in an ever-changing and accelerating environment. For an ISV, there are several good reasons to change how your company and your services are structured. For example, the requirements and ask of your customers have changed, your company wants to scale rapidly, or you simply need to stay ahead of your competition.

The chances are that your company is facing the same challenges, and you are responsible for solving them with your team. Some of the questions we get a lot – and help answer – when working with ISVs are:

  • What needs to change, technically as well as regarding our organizational set-up, to ensure we are ready for the future?
  • How should my company cope with the change from a license to a subscription selling model?
  • What’s my target operating model?
  • How do I make sure everyone is on board with the required changes?
  • Should we move our environment in a ‘lift & shift’ manner or start changing our application and way of working to be more Cloud Native?

Are you an ISV looking to transform your business in the cloud? Our experts can create a proper roadmap to accelerate your cloud adoption strategy.

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