Modernize your software business (ISV) with cloud-hosted apps

There’s no denying that modernizing by moving your business’s applications and software the cloud can be beneficial or even necessary for ISVs. Read on to learn how to solve these challenges…

The changing market for ISVs

Application developers or Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) are facing a changing market landscape in response to evolving customer demands for more flexible working practices.

Impact of remote and hybrid working

Remote and hybrid working have become commonplace since the pandemic, accelerated by software as a service (SaaS) simplicity, access to data from anywhere and increased employee productivity and collaboration through unified communications.

Competition from CSPs and MSPs

Application developers are also facing increased competition from other players such as Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) like Microsoft Azure, and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), who have an expanse of new and varied competing services and tools, built with access to the latest technology trends like machine learning and AI.

Shift in customer expectations

Customers’ demands have also shifted, expecting new features and functionality in their day-to-day tools and applications within a much shorter development cycle. This is a result of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD), which are practices used in software developers that have their applications architected as cloud native, like Uber and Salesforce. This is putting greater pressure on application developers who have matured and established applications that have been architected for desktop OS; these applications do not possess the same agility and rapid development as cloud native apps.

However, application developers or ISVs must adapt to these changing market dynamics and meet the evolving needs of their customers in order to stay competitive and relevant.

Modernizing existing infrastructure

Many application developers who have architected their applications on desktop OSs  face significant limitations in their existing infrastructure which could hinder their ability to grow and operate effectively in today’s IT world. A client/server IT infrastructure, i.e., software installed on multiple desktops, poses many challenges as it requires much more resources and staff to maintain effective business operations. Most of today’s modern, if not all, application developers will have automated, cloud-native environments that orchestrate and deliver their applications and data across different locations globally.

Challenges faced by application developers with traditional models

These client/desktop IT businesses will struggle with customer retention due to a lack of innovation and value-add their products bring compared to SaaS providers as their infrastructure is not designed to scale. SaaS-based competitors are more in-tune with what their customers are doing with their software (through application analysis and reporting) and can take that insight and develop value-added features much faster through rapid development (CI/CD).

The importance of infrastructure modernization

Another challenge proposed with the traditional software model is the lack of recurring revenue, which can hamper financial forecasting and planning for future improvements compared to a subscription-base model. Addressing these infrastructure problems is crucial for application providers seeking to enhance their product offerings, retain customers, and improve their overall business operations.

Application developers interested in moving to a SaaS model can adopt the following two SaaS strategies to help them gain additional product/service innovation and business advantage.

 “With RAS we can do more with less. We can scale the company without the need to grow in IT management because RAS helps us automate and optimize that significantly.”

Mark Gould, Chief Technology Officer I Spindlemedia

What’s the difference between the two SaaS models?

Applications hosted in the cloud refers to the practice of deploying existing applications on cloud-based or on-premises infrastructure, while cloud native applications are purpose-built and designed to run on cloud platforms.

Application hosting involves migrating traditional desktop applications to the cloud or on-premises infrastructure without significant architectural changes, while cloud-native apps are optimized for cloud environments from the ground up. Cloud native apps leverage cloud technologies and best practices, while hosted applications may require modifications to fully leverage cloud or on-premises infrastructure. Cloud-native apps are designed for scalability, agility, and resilience, while hosted desktop applications may have been originally designed for on-client/desktop environments.

Hosted local apps

Application hosting is a process that requires relatively lower lift in resources and cost to implement. This offers application developers the means to re-introduce their client/desktop application “as a service” (SaaS) gaining benefits from the SaaS vendor who helps host the application i.e., remote access, centralized infrastructure, analytics, etc.

Applications native to the cloud

For cloud native development, this is a process that requires a lot more resources to complete. An application developer will be building their application from scratch and architecting the application on cloud-native technologies—this could take years to complete. That said, once completed, the application developer will have a cloud-native application that can tap into the near-unlimited resources of the cloud, being able to scale and be rapidly developed (CI/CD) with emerging technologies and customer insights. It will be a product with longevity and innovation and can support future business growth.

However, certain applications that were originally developed for client/desktop environments might not be able to be readily transferred or rearchitected to fit a cloud native Software as a Service (SaaS) model. This could be due to factors such as cost, application components, authentication requirements, or other considerations. Nevertheless, Alludo has assisted numerous organizations in addressing these unique challenges and transitioning successfully to a Semi-SaaS model.

Strategic stages to cloud native SaaS

From locally running software towards semi- or full SaaS model

Local applications, to local apps in the cloud, to your application built cloud-native

Software vendors have different choices in delivering their software. Traditionally, it was offered locally on a client/desktop. That transitioned into those same apps being hosted as s service. Today, almost all newly developed applications are architected as a cloud native application, offered as a service.

Applications hosted in the cloud (Semi-SaaS)

For many application developers, a move to application hosting via the cloud or on-premises infrastructure can offer many benefits that enable them to meet customer and market demands. It can offer opportunities to modernize their application, centralize IT infrastructure and increase the product offering features. Below are some of the key use cases:

Choosing the right SaaS vendor 

Application developers and ISVs require a comprehensive solution that enables remote application deployment to cater to the modern business landscape. The SaaS vendor/solution needs to solve for prioritizing quick deployments and minimize disruptions to their business operations.

Ensuring a transparent licensing model without hidden costs is crucial as to avoid any unexpected expenses, such as licenses, support, and maintenance costs. A simple infrastructure to host and deploy applications is certainty the better approach, it means easier maintenance and hassle-free operations requiring little “IT specialist” knowledge and more generalist knowledge from the IT staff.

Additionally, any IT deployment and hosting should have a level of customization to align with the brand identity of the organization and ensure consistency as well as seamless user experience. These are all attributes of the different solutions that Alludo can provide.

The proposition that we make to clients is the following: with Awingu you can now access Dynamics GP from anywhere at any time, even when at home or on the road. You don’t need to have anything installed on the device, no need to be connected to your company network, and no need for installing and configuring a VPN. All you need to do is open your web browser, log in to Awingu and there is your Microsoft Dynamics as if you would have opened it at your desk at the office. That’s it – it’s that simple!”

Bob Bond, CEO I Bond Consulting Services

Solving application hosting with Parallels RAS and Awingu

For application developers who decide to “SaaSify” their desktop applications and modernise their infrastructure, Alludo is here to support and help solve any challenges on the way. Alludo solution offerings include Parallels RAS and Parallels Awingu; different solutions to solve for different problems that might arise.

Parallels RAS Parallels Awingu
  An all-in-one remote application, providing secure remote access from anywhere.   A unified workspace solution that enables zero trust secure remote access.
Best for: Backend automation and scaling on any hypervisor or cloud, with end user access via browser or installed Parallels Clients. Best for: Quickly virtualize legacy applications and deliver them to any device with a browser.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How does a traditional software model hinder application developers’ growth?

A traditional or client/desktop software model is based on perpetual license selling, offering little in revenue forecasting like that of a SaaS model. From a business operations perspective, having and supporting your software on multiple, isolated environments like desktops and laptops, which have different operating systems like Windows, Apple OS & Linux, requires a greater workforce number to develop and manage the software in a timely matter.   However, with application hosting you are installing on a single environment and streaming out to lots of different end point devices, regardless of OS support. This streamlines IT management for greater efficiencies and support.

2. What are the key differences between cloud native applications and hosted applications?

Cloud native applications are software that’s architected from scratch to harness near-unlimited resources of the cloud, being able to scale quickly and be rapidly developed. Most applications developed today will be done this way.   Hosted applications are usually an older, mature application originally architected for client/desktop environments and have been tweaked to be hosted on a cloud or on-premises environment and streamed to an end point device (desktop/laptops) through a client or web browser.

3. What are the benefits of transitioning to a Semi-SaaS model?

The benefits a Semi-SaaS model, which we mean by hosting legacy client/desktop applications, includes offering these applications as a subscription-based service. This lowers the cost of entry for customers wanting to use the software as well as remotely gain access to the software on any device. For the software provider it also offers the software provider a forecastable, re-occurring revenue stream foe better financial forecasting.

4. How does offering a SaaS model help improve customer feedback?

SaaS refers to the provision of software applications and data by vendors through their IT infrastructure to customers, who can access them remotely. This allows vendors to gain valuable insights into how customers interact with their software, including when they use the applications and the amount of data generated. Using dedicated tools to analyze customer engagements, vendors can leverage these insights to enhance their product offerings by introducing new features and improving existing applications.

5. How does the cloud-native approach support future business growth?

Cloud native applications are designed from the ground up to leverage the virtually limitless resources of the cloud, including cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). As a result, these applications have unparalleled flexibility to rapidly integrate new features and innovations into their product offerings through agile development processes. By continually pushing the boundaries of functionality and innovation, cloud native software can enhance customer retention and foster long-term business growth.

Learn more about how Parallels RAS is a great solution for ISVs and more.