Making Software as a Service WorkPosted: February 22, 2010
Early in the life of the Viewpoints Technology Platform we considered a wide array of options for distribution mechanisms. We quickly settled on leveraging the software as a service (SaaS) model. There were many attractive aspects of the SaaS model that made this a great option for us as well as for our clients.
- Speed — the best part of writing software for the internet is that we can deploy changes and updates and get the improvements in front of users as quickly as possible. Using a SaaS model lets us deploy new versions of the platform for all our clients on a fast pace with no delays for any reason. As soon as the platform supports a new feature, we can make that feature available to all.
- Operational expertise — we know our platform inside and out, and we have all the tools in place to deploy, operate, and monitor the systems in our production environment. There is no need to train staff in the technologies we have used or the details of the care and feeding our systems. As we continue to improve and innovate in our support systems all our clients benefit from those improvements immediately.
- Implementation flexibility — by taking ownership of the software and the produciton environment we have the flexibility to make any tool and architecture changes needed to best support the platform. As our feature set has evolved we have considered integration of other programming languages, other data storage systems, and asynchronous processing systems. With sole responsibility for deployment and operations we can make any changes needed quickly and confidently without putting undue strain on our client's systems and teams.
- Focus — the systems we build and deploy are mission cricital for us and are our entire focus. While we understand that our clients may have other priorities and other systems that take precedence for their internal IT departments, those priorities don't distract us in our advancement of the Viewpoints Technology Platform.
- Flexibility — we run the software for all our clients out of one production evnironment and using one set of tools while providing a highly customized solution for each. Functionality, external integration, feature sets, and look and feel are all tailored to each site and each client.
- Integration — the Viewpoints Technology Platform has numerous standard data feeds, both inbound and outbound, that ensure a tight integration between the user experience within the community site and on our partner's sites. We use the feeds to ensure our product catalogs, taxonomy, and user data are in sync, and we make all the content generated in our communities available for integration and display in other systems.
We, and our clients, have been very happy with the results of our SaaS approach. The benefits have proven to be great advantages as we continue to develop and advance our platform.
Over the next several weeks the technology team at Viewpoints will be using some of the space on this blog to tell you a bit about what we've done, how we've done it, and what is coming on the horizon. If you have suggestions for things you'd like to hear about, let us know.