In today’s posting I would like to introduce SaaS (Software as a Service) and SaaS marketplace.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is quite different from existing software that you buy and install by yourself. SaaS is a business model through which a company provides software as a service and you pay for the service.
This means SaaS distributes software as a type of service. Users access the software through a network instead of buying it outright, and the service provider takes care of maintenance and management.
SaaS has some distinguishing features compared to existing methods. Users don’t have to spend a large amount of money to buy, develop, or operate software, or run an additional administrative organization or hire more workers for maintenance.
In other words, users are provided with the functions of the software instead of buying the software itself. Thus, clients access the software remotely to use it and they don’t have to worry about software updates and patches to use the newest version.
Technical Factors required to establish SaaS are configuration based application customizing, multi-tenancy architecture, and scalable infrastructure. They are divided into four different levels according to their level of application.
Level 1 is similar to the ASP (Application Service Provider), a one-to-one software provision through the internet. Each client is provided with each software and infrastructure. As the client’s demands for customization increase the cost for maintenance consistently increases.
Level 2 has a configuration function on the software. This means software can be customized according to a client’s demand by changing the configuration without modifying the source code.
Level 3 has multi-tenancy architecture. Multi-tenancy means an architecture in which multiple tenants share a single application. It reduces the cost of maintenance and achieves economy of scale because it supports clients with various demands through a single instance.
Level 4 is SaaS with a scalable infrastructure. It creates multiple virtual servers for better availability and performance. It also allows for distributed data and infrastructure, while providing extendable services through virtualization and distributed parallel processing.
In Korea, SaaS has not reached a level suited for its purpose yet. Most SaaS marketplaces are simple websites with applications gathered together. They also fall short in creating a new SaaS ecosystem, because data is not very compatible between different services,
In order for SaaS to play a role as a key IT solution beyond particular business fields, it needs to be mature enough to support at least the Level 3 model. LG CNS has built a SaaS marketplace called Mashup+ based on the SaaS platform, in order to overcome these limits and create an SaaS ecosystem that connects various SaaS services and client systems, as well as processes among different enterprises.
SaaS platform provides multi-tenancy and service management functions that are the two key functions for SaaS service.
The multi-tenancy function includes user management for each tenant, authority and authentication management for each tenant. The service management function provides billing rate management for its pay-per-use system, service subscription, metering, adjustment, service management, member management, and customer support.
In order to advance an application into a SaaS service, a design based on multi-tenancy architecture is required.
There are lots of factors to be considered for this: tenant information management, user account registration and management for each tenant, customized menu configuration for each tenant, role and authority definition for each tenant, resource management, common and customized code management for each tenant, single sign on, user synchronization interface, metering for billing.
It is easier to implement multi-tenancy architecture when the application is designed based on the SaaS platform.
Mashup+ is a new SaaS marketplace introduced by LG CNS. The meaning of ‘mashup’ is originally creating a new song by combining existing songs. The term is now used for creating a new service or convergence application by combining web services or open API in the IT field.
One of the key features of Mashup+ is its simplicity which focuses on core functions, so that you can get things done easily and quickly with a single click.
It provides the integrated end-to-end process required for SaaS service such as partnership support, solution search, estimation, subscription, and calculation. It supports mobile devices as well by applying a responsive web design through which you can have the same user experience on any UI.
As we can see from its name, Mashup+ reflects the vision of LG CNS to create a SaaS ecosystem as a marketplace with various forms of software combined.
There are a number of tasks to be accomplished step by step: SaaS transformation of applications, SaaS integration of data integration among different SaaS services, and SaaS creation by connecting SaaS services.
Mashup+ will create a new SaaS ecosystem which combines the solutions of LG CNS and other various kinds of software. I look forward to seeing Mashup+ advance as the best in the marketplace.
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Written by Hyunjoon Kim, advisory at LG CNS’ Infrastructure Service Department