Web App Acceleration a Key Requirement for SaaS Providers
Software as a Service (SaaS) presents a tempting value proposition to businesses all over the world. The benefits are obvious – lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and cost savings, flexibility, ease of access as well as relief from maintenance and upgrade hassles. According to Forbes, SaaS adoption rates continue to outperform those of on-premise enterprise applications.
SaaS provides a significant business opportunity to ERP, CRM and Business Intelligence vendors as well as for companies in Enterprise Content Management, Supply Chain Management and Project Management solutions space. These vendors are putting a web front-end to their application portfolio so that their customers’ user base can easily access them from any browser or any device worldwide. These offerings are now mainstream and independent SaaS vendors continue rolling out superior solutions to capture market share. With such fierce competition and an unusually high churn rate, SaaS vendors continually struggle to enhance end user experience and increase user stickiness.
Similarly, today’s CIOs, CTOs and IT managers also struggle with a plethora of challenges when migrating from an on premise application to a SaaS-based deployment. While cost is a key driver for SaaS deployment, the implementation may also be accompanied by a dip in productivity due to access to the SaaS application being slow if the distance between the provider and the user is more than a few hundred miles (or even s of milliseconds in network terminology). A case in point being the enterprise deployment of cloud-based Office subscribers and the post deployment performance issues created by distance, network latency and poor performance.
It is essential for SaaS vendors to live up to the performance benchmarks set by on-premise applications and the technological advancements to optimize them for a global user base. Enterprises with application servers on-premise had multiple optimization strategies in place when it came to accelerating such applications– including MPLS for stable latency connectivity, WAN Optimization for bandwidth reduction and application acceleration systems for improved performance.
However, a SaaS application is a web-based application hosted in a data center owned and operated by the SaaS vendor and provides services to multiple enterprises from a centralized location. This application is typically accessed over an Internet connection, and while bandwidth costs have been continually falling, the public Internet is anything but reliable. As businesses grow global, concerns with latency and packet loss only grow bigger, and MPLS and WAN optimization strategies cannot stem the tide to the cloud. And there you have it – a slow running SaaS application and dipping productivity levels. If unchecked, this could cause enterprises to re-evaluate their SaaS deployment decision and perhaps switch back to their on-premise application provider.
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