Monthly Archives: September 2009

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How competitive are marketplaces today? How can a Software Vendor differentiate itself? How can Software Vendors win new competition?

Today more than ever Software Vendors feel the need to keep their heads above water, while still preparing for innovation, expanding market share and building competitive advantage. Lets also not forget how consolidated the application market is becoming. How big giants such as SAP, Microsoft, Oracle and so on, are dominating the market. Many ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) previously adopted the strategy of “walking between the elephant’s legs”, but now with the rise of Cloud applications, one avenue worth exploring is to adapt their traditional client-server applications into SaaS model deployments. Industry analysts continue to confirm the growing trend towards SaaS. Gartner currently predicts the worldwide SaaS market to more than double, with SaaS revenues set to reach $14.8 billion in 2012.

This is actually an interesting avenue for ISVs to compete in, because the entire SaaS philosophy is geared to compete with the big giants, hitting them where it hurts the most – the licensing fees. The obvious solution is for ISVs to develop a SaaS offering. One way to do that is to develop a parallel offering alongside their existing client-server offerings, but in doing so not only are they required to make intensive capital investment in the business, but they will also find it difficult to leverage their biggest asset – i.e. their install base. Surely they won’t want to consolidate their revenue stream from existing customers, by moving them to a low cost SaaS offering. But surly wouldn’t it be nice to use them as leverage?

Do you think it would make sense to develop one application with different deployment modes? One deployment mode for the existing install base, utilizing traditional client-server methodology and one using the SaaS concept? Same business logic, same screen layouts, same maintenance and support effort for both, but a truly native solution for both. The problem with this has been, until now most application platforms haven’t been able to support two deployment models from the same codebase.

The application platform that my company sells, uniPaaS, allows ISVs to have a new breed of agile metadata driven application platform that offers what we at Magic Software have coined, the “Power of Choice”, which enables ISVs to break out of the dual-product predicament. In essence what this means is, to develop an application without the need to worry about the desired deployment mode. Also, once the application is ready the ISV can decide which engine to deploy over, whether client-server, cloud or SaaS. Similarly the ISV can decide to run parts of the application or all of the application on mobile devices. This is what we mean by the “Power of Choice”, develop once and deploy in any channel that can allow the ISV to develop new offerings as the market dictates.

Now that’s what I’d call a competitive advantage, the ability to differentiate and win new deals in a marketplace regardless of its state.

In the previous blog entry I talked about FactoryMaster and how they managed to develop a SaaS offering. In the up-coming blog entries I’ll be sharing some other success stories of developing new offerings based on our platform. So far it’s all very hush hush, as soon as I can disclose the details; you’ll be the first to know.

I started working with computers over 20 years ago. I have been working with mainframe systems, digital (does anyone remember them today?), PCs on DOS, Windows, AS/400, Solaris, AIX, Linux and Internet technology – you name it I’ve probably at one point of time played with it: From coding assembly on 3270 machines to using uniPaaS on a virtual environment and simulating multi-tenancy issues with Magic Software latest SaaS offering.

One of the issues that I kept noticing and over my 20 years experience that kept popping-up , each time in a different way, shape or forum, was “the client conundrum”: On one hand enterprises require desktop technologies that have low maintenance, are centrally managed and controlled and centrally secured; but on the other hand, would have the highest functionality available, such as partitioning of logic, synchronisation of data, seamless coupling between client and server, and so on. Yes you probably know this blog entry is about the fat and the thick client conundrum…

It was when I was asked by Business Computer World (BCW) to comment on industry trends that I thought I’d use this as a chance to talk about these issues. Of course, the company I work for, Magic Software, are passionate about technological changes and strongly believe that people don’t need to compromise between thin and fat clients. Magic Software believes that enterprises can, in respect of desktop clients, have their cake and eat it. To have both, high functionality, logic and data portioning, de-coupling between the client and the server client technology but with low management and maintenance, self installation and tight security attributes. We call it the Fit Client, which in essence is a desktop like client (.net based), that runs over HTTP.

To find out more about the Magic Software Fit Client, take a look at the full article I wrote for BCW and, I would love to hear your comments….