Hosted Private Cloud Services – Market Update and PEAK Matrix™ Assessment: Protectionist Sentiments Spur Growth
Do you ever think about the lamp in your living room? Probably not today, as it serves its purpose well. But its newness, beauty, and usefulness gave you great satisfaction when you first bought it.
SaaS adoption is much the same. In the last decade, clients bought SaaS applications because they were “SaaS,” outside their premises, and offered interactive interfaces, better access, quicker new features, and cost savings. Adopting SaaS used to be a priority…SaaS was the means and the goal. But in and of itself, SaaS is now a table stake that is being relegated to the background by four key trends.
Mobile has taken the center stage: All SaaS providers worth their salt, (e.g., Salesforce.com, NetSuite, and Workday.com), and traditional vendors that have embraced SaaS, (e.g., Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft), are now focusing on offering mobile services leveraging their SaaS solutions. Therefore, enabling mobility is taking a priority over being a “SaaS company.” Salesforce.com, the global SaaS leader, acknowledged this market trend and launched “Lightning,” its mobile platform, to enable developers to quickly develop and deploy mobile apps. I expect other providers to make mobile their chosen computing platform and architect their SaaS offerings accordingly. Making end-user mobile leveraging SaaS concepts will take precedence over offering “SaaS” applications.
Platform service has become crucial: All the major SaaS providers cited have developed their platform offerings to enable developers to create application extensions and integration. SaaS may lose its sheen when not accompanied by a meaningful platform service. To scale, every SaaS provider will require a platform service to integrate with the legacy and broader enterprise IT landscape. Think about Salesforce.com, which integrated its disparate platform services (Force.com, Heroku, etc.) within the Salesforce1.com umbrella to create an integrated platform offering that assists developers and IT operation teams. Private platform providers such as Apprenda, Cloud Foundry, and Engine Yard, as well as traditional integration vendors such as Dell Boomi, Informatica, and IBM, are also eyeing this opportunity for application integration, and are exploiting the gaps left by SaaS offerings running in standalone environments. Technology providers that continue to offer point solutions will experience a natural ceiling to growth once they generate a critical mass. These providers may be acquired by other larger players that can offer more comprehensive, end-to-end services integrating different cloud components.
Analytics has become integral: In the last six months, both Salesforce.com and Workday committed to their vision of analytics services by launching multiple applications and platforms such as Salesforce Wave and Workday Insights. This is market leader acknowledgment that clients need value from their SaaS offerings that goes beyond day-to-day operations. SaaS companies are sitting on a treasure trove of client data, and mining it could provide significant benefits to their customers. While these applications are generally delivered in a SaaS model, companies will not buy them for delivery ease or cost savings, but for functionality and value. I expect most other serious SaaS providers will offer analytics services, especially in domains that require data crunching by vast numbers of humans or machines (e.g., Social, CRM, HR, Finance, IT spend, and M2M.)
SaaS’ novelty has faded away: SaaS has become one of buyers’ preferred mechanism for deploying applications. Even if they are hesitant to leverage a public cloud service, they end up in a private SaaS model and make their developers create “SaaS-like” applications. As most applications are now available in the SaaS delivery model, SaaS’ newness and cachet as a point solution are gone. Most buyers now incorporate “SaaS architecture” in their applications, regardless of whether they are delivered as a SaaS or not. SaaS is now so entrenched as a concept that it is no longer a novelty or a David competing with the Goliath’s of the traditional application world.
Today’s buyers expect SaaS to be better than on-premise systems. They no longer adopt SaaS just because it’s delivered in an “as-a-service” model. They want SaaS because it can solve business problems that on-premise systems may not (or may be exorbitantly costly and time consuming). Buyers no longer buy delivery models; rather, they buy solutions and outcomes.
SaaS as we knew it is gone. However, now it will drive the broader ecosystem of IT consumption, aid clients in running and transforming their businesses, and help end-users perform meaningful tasks. It is the backbone of the entire application landscape. SaaS needs to perform this work in the background and let the new-age concepts and value drivers take the front seat. SaaS needs to become the lamp in the enterprise living room.
According to results from our annual Everest Group – Cloud Connect Enterprise Cloud Adoption survey, enterprises are most likely to migrate application development/test environment to the cloud and least likely to migrate ERP
According to results from our annual Everest Group – Cloud Connect Enterprise Cloud Adoption survey, enterprises now view the cloud as a consumption model and are losing interest in debating the deployment model
We’ve been engaged in a lot of discussions recently around whether or not SaaS has to be multi-tenant. In trying to answer that query, we started with another question: What would a private SaaS look like?
Typically when we think of Saas, we think of the multi-tenant platforms such as Salesforce, NetSuite, Ariba, etc. They have several things in common:
These aspects make SaaS a very powerful vehicle. Customer benefits are consumption-based pricing, loosely coupled technologies, and simplicity of management. The customer focuses on how to use the service rather than how to manage the components of the service. The net result is lower cost, because the customer manages its consumption and focuses on how to use the technology instead of focusing on the technology itself.
But here’s what you need to realize —
The market seems to want to claim that these benefits only come from a multi-tenant environment. That simply isn’t true. You can achieve the same goals in a private SaaS environment. There can be public and private versions of the same model.
So what if a provider were to provide those benefits in a private world where companies could have their own environment? A customer could enjoy all the benefits I already describe plus avoid the negative aspects of a multi-tenant environment — inflexibility to change the environment and having to make do with only what is available in the SaaS. Would that private world still be SaaS? As the saying goes, if a creature quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, is it a duck?
My claim is that, yes, you can have a private SaaS environment. So … where would you find such a creature?
Recently we explored ERP in the cloud. SAP and Oracle, for example, provide these offer sets as a SaaS product but without the multi-tenant component. They bundle the hosting, the service, the IP, sell it to you on a consumption basis and provide robust APIs so the customer benefits from the software vendor’s innovation trajectory. Notably, this model also allows the customer to have meaningful customization.
Other than NetSuite, at the large enterprise level we’re not aware of any multi-tenant ERP SAP or Oracle offering. While it’s true that SAP is multi-tenant at the fringes, you can actually run its core ERP system by the component parts as a private SaaS. That way you get to enjoy the benefits of consuming the service on a consumption basis and loosely coupling your innovation trajectory to allow it to evolve on its own separate from other technology innovations.
If you look at the many offerings in the marketplace, there are actually as many or more offerings that give customers a private SaaS environment as there are multi-tenant public SaaS environments.
I think we need to free ourselves from believing that SaaS only can be public (multi-tenant). Otherwise, we deny ourselves the possibility of real benefit from software services that are yet to go multi-tenant and perhaps never will.
Neal Sample, CIO, Enterprise Growth, for American Express. Prior to American Express, Neal served as the CTO of X.commerce, eBay’s open development and commerce platform, and he also served as Vice President of Architecture and Platform Products at eBay. Prior to eBay, Neal was a senior executive at Yahoo! where he led the Open, Social, and Participation platforms. In this video, Neal chats with Scott Bils, Everest Group’s Next Generation IT Practice Leader, about his experience implementing private, public, and hybrid clouds at three very different companies.
As we work with our clients to understand the implications of Next Generation IT technologies, it’s clear that large enterprise adoption of public cloud IaaS is progressing more slowly than other types of cloud services (e.g., SaaS, private cloud). When we ask ourselves “why,” we continue to come back to three critical issues:
Certainly we’re finding that these issues are reflected in enterprise IaaS adoption patterns that are not quite what many in the enterprise CSP vendor community had hoped for at this point. Namely we’re seeing:
So where are we headed?
In general, enterprises are obviously not comfortable with the current risk / return profile associated with public IaaS and hybrid cloud models. We believe one of the few levers that would pull both components of this ratio would be a cloud management platform that would enable true workload portability / interoperability and policy enforcement across private, public and hybrid models. Not surprisingly, competing enterprise cloud vendor platforms, standards and ecosystems are emerging around VMware, Open Stack and Amazon (and to a limited extent Microsoft) to address this market gap. Several major announcements over the past several weeks that have served both to partially clarify and muddy this evolving landscape at the same time include:
Most major enterprise IT vendors are still hedging their bets and publicly keeping feet in multiple camps. With the marketing engines in overdrive it’s difficult to understand what commitments vendors are really at the end of the day making to the different platforms. In fact it’s quite instructive to take a look at who’s putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to open source efforts like Open Stack, not just in terms of sponsorship fees but also developer contributions.
Historically IT platform markets end up with a dominant leader and one to two credible challengers that end up with 2/3 to 3/4 of the market, with the remainder shared among niche players. When we take a look at the enterprise cloud operating system or management platform market, we don’t see why it would be any different here, though we’re obviously still a long, long way from the end game.
The critical question in our mind is: Is a cloud platform market shakeout required for enterprise adoption of IaaS to accelerate and hit the tipping point? If so, we could be waiting a long time.
What are your thoughts?