While Bucket is happening in the background, I am constantly aware that the future is not just Mobile, but also includes the Cloud. In particular, I think Software as a Service will take off like nobody’s business and be a dominant force in the marketplace for at least the next 10 years.
Which is why I have been thinking that I need to get into the SaaS market as a provider. I think most SaaS applications will have very similar architecture in terms of their infrastructure. They all have to have reliable storage, a web presence, an n-tier architecture, a billing system, a metering method, a customer support area, etc. What will differ is the business logic and the workflow of the application itself. Any product that in the 1990′s had a thick client, and in the first decade of this century had a web interface, is a prime candidate for deployment as a SaaS application.
So I have been thinking… which type of application should I pick to facilitate my foray into the world of SaaS as a service provider? I have quite a few choices.
Options: I have spent a lot of time in the past customizing and configuring CRM software. So I am familiar with the concepts of Helpdesk Systems, Customer Support Systems, Contract and Entitlement Management, and Sales Management Systems. I could build a CRM SaaS application and have a very narrow focus. Perhaps even focus on just one industry within that type of application.
More Options: I also have a lot of exposure to Defect Tracking Systems and Requirements Management Systems. So I could perhaps dive in with that type of applications. Or perhaps Project Management software. Not like MS Project – which is just a scheduler, but more like a system that will help a PM and the project team to really manage the project. May be I could focus on Agile project management alone. Or I could build a Configuration Management DB the way ITIL recommends – although it usually turns out to be an asset management system which will always be woefully out of date unless it is tightly integrated into a disciplined Change Management System. Another option is to build a SaaS application for Supply Chain Management. I hope to decide by the end of June.
Resources: While I love to design and dream up new systems, I am not particularly fond of actually coding these systems anymore. I would definitely hire a good programmer to build it. I realize that a good SaaS implementation also requires a very good user interface designer to work on it. In other words, if this system is to become successful as a business, I need partners – partners who can validate my design and help me in other ways to make it successful. I definitely need a business partner who can market the company and the product. I have a feeling that soon I may need a VC as well.
Back to the infrastructure required for any SaaS application. I will write another short post to describe my thoughts on that.