Google estimate that software development will be worth an estimated £30 billion to the UK economy by 2025. Cloud computing has been a key accelerator for this sector and has removed barriers for entry  enabling low cost experimentation and delivery; and in turn changing the software business model.

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The democratisation of access to compute resources, combined with widespread low cost network access, means cloud computing now provides the perfect platform for the development and scalable delivery of applications.

the cloud is not a panacea for ISVs

But the cloud is not a panacea for ISVs and challenges still remain in the delivery of secure, reliable software solutions to end-users.  However by partnering with a managed services provider that can offer agile development platforms and robust delivery services, many software developers will be able to reap the benefits of increased focus on core business areas, improved user experience and faster, more agile DevOps cycles.

A developer’s cloud

Developers are now leveraging Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platforms to spin up cloud instances using their software and to tear them down when they’re done, without any manual intervention, and all from one portal. However, there are multiple service providers that offer a variety of cloud services and software businesses need to consider its specific needs carefully when selecting a provider. Key considerations should include:

  • Uptime commitment with the service provider, particularly how this relates to the critical needs of the relevant application
  • Whether a transparent billing mechanism is built-in with the cloud offering
  • API functionality to allow your software to drive the infrastructure
  • Tools or native platform capability that allow rapid cloning and deployment of whole environments, facilitating faster and reliable DevOps cycles

Delivering a better user experience

The SaaS model is creating new opportunities for both ISVs and their customers. Consumption based charging models enable low-cost-of-entry and low-cost-of-software so clients can experiment with applications that optimise business processes, drive higher efficiency, productivity and growth.

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Cloud based models allow ISV’s to focus on their core goals of developing and delivering applications; and improving their customer experience. Tasks like capacity management, infrastructure budget management and platform availability can all be offloaded to a cloud partner; and importantly these costs can be married to usage and revenue for the ISV.

Potentially other tasks can be offloaded too – ISVs working with a Managed Service Provider can also offload tasks such as patching, replication, redundancy and security. With the right partner the ISV can deliver agility to the DevOp’s cycle and then rely on the MSP to implement change control, security or compliance enhancements, business continuity and a robust availability and performance SLA for the production applications.

With the right partner the ISV can deliver agility to the DevOp’s cycle

ISV’s can take a pragmatic approach in a move to SaaS, establishing whether it’s a good fit for their client base, their financial model and their software offering. But they can still take advantage of a partner that can deliver hybrid solutions that fit most use cases.

Applications delivered to end-users in heavily regulated industries; may not be suited to multi-tenanted platforms, but may still sit well on discrete, dedicated infrastructure with appropriate security and compliance controls. Cloud platforms where resources are rented by the hour, may not necessarily offer the best value to applications with predictable workloads or those where the end-user signs fixed-term contracts. 

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The combination of opportunities presented by IaaS and SaaS models has expanded the options available to ISVs for software development and delivery; and in turn provided a greater number of options and better value solutions for end-users. The cloud is reducing barriers to entry for new software businesses and allowing existing ISVs to be more agile, customer responsive and innovative. Both customers of these solutions and the ISVs themselves stand to gain considerable benefits in transitioning to the cloud and taking advantage of cloud infrastructure and managed services as long as due diligence is undertaken in this transition.