On the Mark: SaaS fills its holes
Bob Moul, CEO of Boomi Inc. in Berwyn, Pa., says that one by one, the roadblocks that software as a service has faced from skeptical IT execs have fallen. First, there was security. Could SaaS vendors protect proprietary data? Virtually every on-demand service can pass that test these days, and some, such as that of BoardVantage Inc., which was mentioned here last week, even get SAS 70 Type II security certification. Then it was customization that stifled SaaS growth, Moul says. That, too, has been conquered, as on-demand software has moved from a single rigid instance of code in the early years to today’s flexible versions that can be adjusted to fit corporate and even individual preferences. Lastly, he says, there have been problems with integration — both between on-premises apps and SaaS, and among on-demand services themselves. That, too, is no longer a barrier, Moul claims, saying, “We take integration off the table as a sales hurdle.”
In December, Boomi will release its integration-as-a-service operations. Now in beta, Boomi On Demand lets IT link different IP-based applications together through a menu of predefined connectors. Through Boomi’s Visual Process Designer, you use icons to map out your applications’ workflow. For SaaS to SaaS apps, the integration work happens in Boomi's data center, but for hybrid integration chooses between on-premise and SaaS software you deploy a runtime module called an Atom, a bit of code that runs on your site to to handle the integration duties while being managed from Boomi's data center.
Shift Contact Center Software to Service
Up to now, building a contact center — whether for inbound or outbound calling — could be a pricey, time-consuming process of deploying and configuring a mix of servers and software. Not anymore, contends Louis Summe, CEO of LiveVox Inc. in San Francisco. He says voice-over-IP technology married with his company’s LiveVox Voice Portal on-demand service “radically alters the contact center cost equation” because it eliminates the need for on-premises hardware. Summe says the portal tool can be easily integrated with other online services, such as Salesforce.com, as well as with your internal applications. (And there’s always Boomi if you get in a bind.) Summe says specialized VoIP handsets are going the way of, well, on-premises software. His take: Softphones combined with Bluetooth headsets are the coming thing for call center workers. Pricing for the LiveVox service is implementation-specific.
Get Procurement As a Service, Too
This week, Coupa Software Inc. in Foster City, Calif., unleashes the on-demand version of its procurement software, designed to help companies large and small manage their spending with suppliers. Coupa previously released an open-source version of its eProcurement software (see On the Mark, March 26). Now, CEO Dave Stephens says, by combining open source and on demand, Coupa is breaking new ground for IT: If you want something special for your procurement needs but can’t wait for Coupa to make a change to its on-demand version, you’re free to do so. You can then submit your revised code to Coupa, which might include it in the next SaaS version. Pricing starts at $2,495 per year for 10 users.
Source: October 22, 2007 (Computerworld), On the Mark: SaaS fills its holes, Mark Hall