Microsoft Vision on Software + Services
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Looking at software development and solutions today then it is easyt to identify at lest 5 industry trends that the industry is gravitating to:
- SOA: Service Oriented Architectures allow for increased reuse and more agility reating to changes in the business world.
- RIA: Rich Internet Applications bring the rich user experience to the user via the web.
- Web2.0: Provide data from different sources in a useful way to the user and let the user decide what data to look at and in what form.
- Cloud Computing: Allow for service computing, providing and using services irrespective of the fact that they are on-premise or somewhere in the cloud.
- SaaS: Flexible pricing and delivery.
Why not only SaaS and that is it? If I take the definition of SaaS from Wikipedia then it is defined as:
Software as a service (SaaS, typically pronounced 'Sass') is a model of software deployment where an application is hosted as a service provided to customers across the Internet. By eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer's own computer, SaaS alleviates the customer's burden of software maintenance, ongoing operation, and support. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SaaS)
If I am using this definition that all the Software would be provided over the Internet, without the necessity of installing anything on the local machine. That sounds wonderful and it would indeed alleviate many problems with installations, maintenance, and support of the desktop computer.
In theory that sounds very nice, and I want one of those.... But hen I come to think of other scenarios that requires offline access and the ability to work without any connection to a network. Furthermore, I am not sure if it really is necessary for all my information to be stored somewhere in the cloud. These scenarios seem to contradict the definition above.
That is the reason why I think Software + Service is a more realistic approach to react to the industry trends listed before. While some (or many) services are (will be) provided via the cloud there is still (and will be) the need for software that enables offline scenarios and that is exactly where S+S comes into play. With S+S we acknowledge the fact that there is scenarios for SaaS as well as disconnected offline work in the environment of SOA, Web2.0, Cloud Computing, and RIA. This actually is in line with typical companies such as Salesforce, as they also install client software to support those scenarios.
Therefore I would claim that S+S takes a more comprehensive look on all the current industry trends and provides a broader vision than Saas does. I am sure this vision will also evolve and should not be seen as the end of the journey, but rather it is the current vision that will be adapting to the problems and needs of software providers.
I actually like to take the S+S concepts and paint blueprints of the solutions of my accounts. Based on the snapshot of the current system we then evolve the system to satisfy new requirements and visions for the system in a very compelling way. I will provide more about that approach in my next post, so stay tuned for a very practical article on S+S architectural blueprints and software architectural evolution......
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