The information age has brought about the rise of a new type of technology company. These are companies where the products or services they produce/provide are intrinsically connected to the IT infrastructure required to sustain the enterprise’s day to day operations. Unlike a food processor where the consumer product is supported by technology but disconnected once it is consumed. In these enterprises, the consumer buys a product/service that links them back into the enterprise’s IT infrastructure and the company monetizes this connection in order to perpetuate business and seduce the consumer down the path to purchasing more and more offerings to leverage the established link.
Even giants like Microsoft are going this way by eliminating free Hotmailand replacing it with free online Outlookand SkyDrivespace in the cloud. Companies who identify their current reliance on IT as a part of their business value proposition will be able to take advantage of this fact to create strategic inflection points. They will use adjunct offerings that take the enterprise to a new level of revenue and profitability. “Quick” tactical offerings with IT infrastructure “come-along” benefits will seed the prime rose path leading the consumer to partake in future offerings built upon a baseline infrastructure. Emergence of these new Technology Giants will be driven by executive leadership recognizing that IT isn’t just a necessary evil but rather an important platform allowing the launch of never before revenue models and opportunities.
The IaaS and PaaS cloud models allow architects to decouple components of an application or enterprise system into the lowest functional components and design for failure how these pieces can be utilized as “independent black boxes” to form an application. This allows for provisioning elasticity and resiliency of individual components and their states in the inevitable event of hardware or software failure.
One of the least understood impacts of this approach is that the message queues used by components can become the most important elements in assuring availability, scalability and ultimate reliability. In essence the messaging infrastructure components become the most critical parts of an applications infrastructure designed to exploit elasticity. If you envision these Enterprise Apps as complex organisms, then the message queues and their reliability become mission critical organs of the living, agile enterprise architecture. Components such as controller apps, databases and such should be isolated allowing buffering of request along with replies making the network of components more durable and state independent facilitating failover and scalability.
As we look at today’s complex product, business and end-user requirements, some key ideas must be addressed to achieve profit margin goals. Almost all electronic products today utilize software, hardware and multiple suppliers/vendors to complete product functionality. The chart below is meant to trigger thinking about key items that must be included in the today’s electronic product engineering process.
I have a controversial view that the new SaaS adoption rates will be served more by focusing on user benefits VS “tech-selling” buzzwords. A practical example of this would be that I believe the growth in numbers of the “boomer” generation is going to drive more customers to the SaaS/IaaS platform providers. E.G., MyGait below offers not only a computer system tuned to older user needs (magnification, large keys, etc.) but also a service program and financing that essentially signs up the buyer to a SaaS model by selling features and benefits they need.
A combination of color coding and Input Method Editor (IME) options is perfectly suited for the older user in the US and international community.
A good working example of this is the lighting fast adoption rate in Mobile TelCo of the Windows Phone & Android applications.