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04/21/2010

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Next big breakthrough in software for Supply Chain
From an historical perspective most disruptive technologies are most often adopted by those who cannot afford the current mainstream offering or their business models. For example Mainframe computers were largely displaced by Mini-Computers which were largely displaced with effectively Personal Computers. More recently we see the adoption of Voice over the internet VoIP over PBX offerings. These changes flourish on the fact that there is less complexity, more adorability and huge underserved markets that desire the capabilities. History is repeating itself… please welcome Software as a Service.

Software as a Service – Sophisticated capabilities for the masses
Software as a Service or SaaS – Cloud Computing – Hosted Solutions there a lot of buzzwords, rebranding and marketing spin out in the marketplace lately. So, let’s try to breakdown the characteristics of SaaS
Characteristics that define SaaS:
Services are offered in a Subscription model – you’re not happy, cancel your subscription
A true multitenant model where subscribers share the applications capabilities is much different from a hosted or Application Service Provider (ASP) model that only outsources information technologists’ tasks.
No maintenance or support contracts – SaaS Providers upgrade and support you to keep you as customers
Access from anywhere – connect to the service with a browser and an internet connection
No special hardware or software required – If your personal computer runs a website you should have everything you need to use the application.
You have complete administration rights – manage your users’ access and customize the application and your customizations will migrate from release to release with no extra charge
Integrate with on-premise applications – Open Application Program Interfaces (API’s) for every piece of the application.
Recently Panorama Consulting Group conducted a survey for their 2010 ERP Report. They surveyed 1,600 organizations that have implemented a new ERP solution in the past four years and compared on-premise deployment implementations side-by-side with SaaS deployments.
The first thing they discovered is that on-premise implementations take an average of 6.8 months longer than SaaS/hosted implementations

Future Applications in the SaaS model for Procurement and Order Fulfillment organizations
Broader adoption of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI); a promise unfulfilled: for the Buy-side of businesses today smaller companies have not been able to leverage benefits of the EDI transaction process sets where in these very same businesses EDI has been forced-adopted (a cost of doing business) on the Sell-side of the businesses because their customers mandate compliance. The dirty secret is that large populations of businesses are simply going to EDI translator’s sites and printing Purchase Order messages and subsequently typing them into Order Entry, Shipping and Finance systems, an example where new technology did not reach across the supply chain.
Properly architected SaaS applications enable EDI adoption through straight forward web-services connection where the buy-side of businesses can quickly adopt the capabilities.

FACEBOOK for Supplier Relationship Management – can I friend my suppliers?
Social Media for supplier collaboration: Imagine if your company had its own secure collaboration space, a Collaboration Cloud if you will. Where stakeholders could participate, share content, garner status and subscribe to relevant feeds. Share application capabilities with suppliers for purchase commitment dates, progress steps, issues concerns… and all of it will fuel better and faster business decisions. This would replace the Phone FAX and E-mail where in their time where disruptive technologies but now have proliferated the data but with very little tie to the business transaction.
All stakeholders will be able to easily contribute and consume relevant information in a ubiquitous environment where everyone is more productive.

Summary
Where technologies continue to develop that support innovative solutions companies will develop new disruptive solutions and each time the adopting community will be continue to flourish on the fact that there is less complexity, more adorability and huge underserved markets that desire the capabilities. History repeating itself…

I am very pleased to leave my messages in your posts, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here!

Most dynamic and well structured EDI solution providers have already adapted the SaaS model to fully integrate with the end users ERP system. With regard to the Collaboration Cloud this has already been suggested using the tag 'Cross-Business Data Integration'

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Evangelos Simoudis is a Senior Managing Director at Trident Capital where he focuses on investments in SaaS, Internet and Data.

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