Techcello recently conducted a survey among ISVs on SaaS : Engineering factors.
Inspite of the faster time to market that is inherent in many proprietary SaaS platforms, an overwhelming no. of ISVs (85%) prefer the flexibility and control offered by industry standard programming models such as .Net and J2EE. However more than 45% expressed the need for a third alternative that gives them the freedom, flexibility and control of these traditional application platforms, without the complexities, risks, cost and time overheads of building and maintaining their own SaaS engineering stack.
Another interesting finding is that preference between Microsoft .Net and Open source / Java is almost equally split.
More than 60% ISVs prefer to build or buy a SaaS engineering stack before proceeding with the development of business functions, whereas the remaining 40% would allow the engineering and architecture of the product to evolve parallely, while the business functions are being built.
When asked about the challenging aspects of building a multi-tenant SaaS product : 65% mentioned “ability to customize the product for each tenant”. 55% mentioned “access control privileges and security policies that are unique to each tenant”.
SaaS operationalization aspects such as metering, tenant provisioning and subscription management, were not considered as challenging as customization and security.
15% would prefer to build their product on PaaS in spite of the platform lock-in and monthly recurring cost
40% would prefer industry standard programming models with complete flexibility and control and would use cloud providers only for hosting and infrastructure scaling.
45% would prefer an option that combines the flexibility and control of option 2 with the speed of option 1.
45% would prefer to use Microsoft .Net technology stack
55% would prefer to use open source / Java technology stack
40% would allow the engineering and architecture of the product to evolve parallely while the business functionalities are being built
60% would first build or buy a SaaS engineering stack / framework before proceeding with the business functions
24% already have built their own in-house SaaS engineering stack / framework
76% would like to evaluate the pros and cons of buying a ready made framework vs. building their own
Challenging aspects of building a Multi-tenant SaaS product
% of ISVs who consider this aspect as challenging
65% : customizing and configuring the product for each tenant (UI, data model extensions, business rules)
56% : security and access control policies that are unique to each tenant (data scoping, field level, page level)
40% : to support database scaling both horizontally and vertically
24% : tenant provisioning, product package and subscription management linked to access controls
11% : metering with links to usage limits and access controls
9% : Audit trail (tenant wise, user wise)
*Sample size : 55 Aug 2010 : Online Survey among ISVs conducted by techcello using Google Forms