Why cloud continues to deliver for ISVs and SaaS providers
Nearly three years ago, I wrote about the needs of independent software developers and providers, and the ways in which Navisite cloud solutions offered a great fit for their requirements.
Since writing that blog post, the industry has grown even faster than anticipated. The broader digital economy now accounts for 1.75 million jobs in the UK, and new jobs in the sector are being created at almost three times the rate of the rest of the economy. The sector now accounts for 7 percent of the economy as a whole, according to UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley in March. With the UK's IT services and software market expected to reach an all-time high market value of 59 billion euros in 2017.
The growth is even higher in some senses, as we are seeing organisations embark on Digital Transformation programmes that blur the boundaries between traditional businesses and the digital sector. Banks, supermarkets, taxi companies, clothing brands and DIY stores are now building and managing applications that are delivered to their customers. They are employing their own digital specialists, as well as retaining the services of external partners, agencies and development houses.
For ISVs, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) continues to prove a popular and useful option. Crucially, it removes the barriers for entry in the form of capital expenditure, which makes it easier to experiment and cheaper or less risky to fail. A new development environment can be created from scratch within minutes. If a project is finished, that environment can be dismantled, and thus no longer billed, in as little time. Using APIs, it can be automatically switched off at the end of the working day or whenever it becomes idle; environments can also auto-scale based on demand.
For production environments, the reliability of SaaS applications has also become business critical. End users have become highly intolerant of any failures from the online services they use. Software providers have no choice but to respond to that. Great reliability and solid business continuity plans; backed up by rock-solid SLAs from service provider partners; are needed for an ISV to deliver robust and performant applications.
To deliver the expectations of their end-users; many ISV’s have chosen partners that provide Managed Cloud services. Managed Service partners look after elements like the design and deployment of infrastructure, platform management, operating system management, network and security; freeing up the teams at the ISV to develop and support the applications themselves.
Our client SD Worx, global SaaS provider of payroll and HR software, for example, moved to a Managed Private Cloud environment. The improvements in performance and reliability were notable, and the company reports a considerable boost in the speed in which it can on-board new clients. At the same time, the company could free up resources which had been dedicated to managing and maintaining the data centre and move them onto more business-critical work.
For similar reasons, SaaS provider to UK brokers and lenders, Mortgage Brain, also opted for Navisite's secure NaviCloud Managed Cloud services. Here, the ability of our services to meet the tough regulatory demands of the financial industry, as well as improving service speed, efficiency and reliability, was the compelling factor.
More recently our services around Managed Azure, has proven especially attractive to SaaS providers who need to serve a global audience, allowing users worldwide to tap into Microsoft’s growing footprint of global locations, backed by Navisite’s proven managed services expertise. Managed Azure also offers easy integration with other Microsoft solutions and has proven ideal for many cloud-native applications.
On the other hand, a Self-Service Cloud infrastructure remains a firm favourite with organisations that know exactly what they need, want to set things up exactly how they need them. Of course, cloud computing is all about flexibility and it may be the case that your organisation can benefit from both types of infrastructure - and we can easily transition resources between the two. Clients sometimes use Self-Service Cloud for test and development environments and Managed Cloud once they are in production.
Cloud is a technology that's still evolving and growing as quickly as the developer community it serves, and neither ISVs nor service providers can afford to stand still. Navisite will continue to adapt and grow our product range to bring clients the capabilities and flexibility they need.