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Implications of Software + Services Consumption for Enterprise IT

December 30, 2008
Implications of Software + Services Consumption for Enterprise IT – The Architecture Journal

"Summary: Many articles in this issue use the term Software + Services (S+S) when referring to client (desktop, browser and device) and server based applications which consume one or more Internet (cloud) services. While this model shares some characteristics with Software as a Service (SaaS) the differences are significant for Enterprise IT.

This paper contrasts the challenges of adopting S+S versus SaaS; it will become clear that consumption of a well-defined external service is less challenging for enterprises than the consumption of a finished service.

Today, the majority of applications delivered as a service over the Internet (that is, SaaS) are aimed at the consumer and small business markets. The business monetization model used, whether subscription- or advertising-funded, is largely that of the Long Tail; selling a little of something to many, many customers through a scalable distribution channel, as described by Chris Anderson (see Resources).

However, enterprise demands are significantly different from the demands of these consumer and small business segments, so certain assumptions supporting Long Tail economics and service delivery (and consumption) just do not apply in an enterprise context. For example, consumers don’t have to worry about compliance and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and all that is implied by it is largely irrelevant to small businesses.

Thus considering software services from an enterprise perspective raises a number of questions. Who owns the data? What is the Service Level Agreement (SLA)? Can internal identities be extended outside the firewall to access cloud services? Are there regulatory implications? !"

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