Companies are moving their on-premise software applications to the cloud and embracing the software as a service (SaaS) licensing and delivery model, hoping to reap its numerous benefits, which include cost savings, security, flexibility, disaster recovery and business continuity, scalability and access to automatic updates, among others.
However, just because a solution is advertised as SaaS in the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean it delivers all the above-mentioned benefits. Microsoft’s SaaS maturity model provides a framework for accessing SaaS solutions and describing their maturity along three dimensions: scalability, multi-tenancy and configurability.
The SaaS maturity model is broken down into four levels, and each of them brings certain opportunities and challenges you should be aware of when accessing SaaS vendors.
Level 1 (Single-Tenant, Custom Instances)
At this level of the SaaS maturity model, the only way to support multiple customers (tenants) is to provide each of them a separate copy of the software. Because the provided copies can be customized by writing custom code, each customer is required to run a different instance of the software and scalability is non-existent, even though the software is technically delivered as a service. As such, no economies of scale can be harnessed, making this level the least cost-effective and sustainable when managing a larger number of customers.
Level 2 (Single-Tenant, Configurable Instances)
At level 2, software can be customized by changing its configuration instead of writing custom code. In other words, all tenants interact with the same code configured in different ways, with each tenant running their own copy on a separate virtual or physical machine. Consequently, scalability and multi-tenancy are still not achieved. What’s more, the provider is at a competitive disadvantage because individual instances don’t share the same pool of computing power, which would make it possible to achieve economy of scale. – Read more