InfoWorld gives the world a new 3-letter word: HSV, replacing the much-maligned ASP. It writes: “With enterprises looking for low-cost, low-risk solutions in a tight budget environment, HSVs have started to gain more traction in areas ranging from CRM to human resources. And though they are strapped for cash and staff, just like nearly every other company, HSVs are continuing to push the technology limits of delivering software as a hosted service.”
One of the key challenges faced is cutomisation.
A key objection to hosted software has been HSVs’ inability to customize their wares to the same extent as packaged-application vendors do theirs. So HSVs are working hard to increase customizability while maintaining the cost-effectiveness of a single multitenant code base. “The new model is customization through configuration, says David Thomas, CEO of Intacct in Los Gatos, Calif. You have to design [hosted applications] so they can do extensive customization through configuration, and thats a challenge.
Everybody’s sharing the application, so you cant customize the code, says Employease’s Alberg.
He explains that instead of using programming languages and tools for customization, the best hosted applications use built-in wizards, drop-down lists, and radio buttons. There are an unlimited number of custom data elements you can add, and no software development or database knowledge [is required],” he says.
Separating business rules from the applications base code is also key to “configurable customization,” allowing customers to define and select permissions, role-based usage, approvals processes, and best practices from menus within the system. Finally, customers typically want access to their data via whatever third-party analytics packages they may be using, and this requires a stateless architecture that assures that intensive queries cant adversely affect database performance for any other customer.
These are points we need to keep in mind for building out our enterprise eBusiness suite.