Software as a Service (SaaS)

For over two decades, CIPPlanner has been a pioneer in SaaS computing solutions and system support services for numerous capital infrastructure system owners and managers in both public and private sectors. We advocate for SaaS and welcome the opportunity to share our perspective on how to best deliver such services. Our extensive knowledge and experience in providing SaaS and system support services have enabled us to always find a suitable and feasible solution to accommodate our customers’ unique business processes and/or use cases.

Can I trust my enterprise to SaaS?

SaaS is well beyond a conceptual debate! Consider:

of CIOs are adopting or planning to adopt cloud SaaS
(Deloitte, 2020)
estimated industry growth by the end of 2023
(Gartner, 2022)
of software organizations use will be SaaS by 2025
(BetterCloud, 2020)
SaaS companies in the US than in any other country
(Latka Agency, 2022)
industry growth over the last seven years
(Gartner, 2022)

SaaS at a Glance

SaaS is a cloud-based computing approach that removes the heavy demands of software application systems from customers’ internal server to the service provider’s servers, remotely managed and maintained by the service provider. Serving multiple customers under a partitioned environment, the service provider is responsible for all aspects of the operations and maintenance of the customer’s application system, including data management, records transmitting and processing, computer hardware and software resources, as well as utility related expenses. SaaS customers purchase computing resources on a subscription basis and access the specified resources via a 24/7 network connections that upload/download content through web browsers and/or mobile applications. While some see SaaS as a reconstitution of legacy systems of the 1970s, there are fundamental differences between the two, considering that legacy systems can only run on mainframe computers and require end-users to access the system via unintelligent terminals, such as monitors with few or none processing capabilities. Powered by the emerging IT technologies and innovative service delivery approach, SaaS leverages multi-layered capacities through multiple and powerful servers (clusters), distributed computing, middleware technologies, such as Web APIs that allow different applications to communicate and exchange information with one another, as well as smart end-user or customer-end computer environments, such as browsers that run JavaScript and manage local resources.

Why SaaS?

The table below offers a side-by-side comparison of SaaS versus a typical on-premise solution:

Control:Some level of configured solution. On the low-end, setup/user options. Highly configured systems adapt well to business processes.Highest level of control over features and functions.
Scalability:Shared scalability enables lower marginal cost and faster execution.Higher marginal cost to scale by “X” factors of computing resources.
Security:Cost of security shared by tenants. Hosting environments that specialize in these areas are more equipped to secure networks.Costly security overhead from server room camera and access to software. Greater vulnerability to DoS and other malicious attacks.
IT Resources:Significantly lower IT staffing cost.Requires larger IT staff and greater human resources costs.
Capital Investment:Modest up-front expense to implement an off-the-shelf or configured solution.Development cost in term of IT staff and physical computing resources.
Availability:Robust, agile resources – through secondary data centers, detection software/methods, and/or services such as Azure – ease availability during period of stress on the computing environment.Backup and recovery as well as disaster recovery are more complicated given the necessary computing resources required for failsafe architecture.
Transferability:Upgrades and complete transfers to a new SaaS are more efficient.Considerable capital investment means holding onto legacy systems well beyond their optimal use.

Why CIPAce™ ?

SaaS solutions are not monolithic and require organizations to inspect each provider on the merits of its approach to cloud-based computing. We are committed to offering the highest value for our customers. In an article published by CIO Review, Gary Gorson, then Chief Technology Officer at Lake County, IL, outlined challenges/risks associated with SaaS computing. Hover over the boxes below to learn how CIPPlanner stacks up against Gorson’s challenges.

Challenge 1:
Forced Updates

Many providers of multi-tenant SaaS solutions “dictate a strict upgrade policy”.

CIPPlanner does not impose strict upgrade requirements. Customer-specific implementations leave our users with greater latitude to time their upgrades. We certainly encourage organizations to stay as up-to-date as possible to leverage feature/function innovations, but our customers are in the driver’s seat. Note, CIPPlanner averages two major version releases annually and three or four minor releases.

Challenge 2:
Limited Customizations

Customizing SaaS application can be expensive.

Our Off-the-Shelf (OTS) solution incorporates design, architecture, Integration Adapters, and Web API standards. We offer highly configurable solutions at reasonable price-points, implemented through accelerated Agile/Sprint methodology. Our robust OTS solution is powerful. If needed, CIPAce™ offer many options for customization both during implementation and later by customers’ system admins

Challenge 3:
Data Outside the Organization

Data stored outside the organization’s premises.

CIPAce™, our flagship SaaS solution does require offsite data manage. However, as a general and subject to rigorous Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with out customers, we ensure secure, reliable, and available data solutions to meet daily, backup and recovery, and disaster recovery requirements.

Challenge 4:
Staff Impact

SaaS often culminates in organizations eliminating infrastructure components, IT staff, or both in order to achieve optimal return on Investment (ROI).

CIPPlanner implementations are value-priced, giving customers greater latitude in decisions related to legacy infrastructure and staffing. Often, our solutions become part of an organization’s tandem solutions, where on-premise systems (e.g., financial) remain in-place.

Challenge 4:

Organizations must consider how the SaaS solution integrates with legacy systems.

We have a track record of successful integration of SaaS solutions with legacy systems. Our implementation approach brings IT and domain experts to work peer-to-peer with a customer’s staff to work out these issues. We have 100% record of achieving effective integration since the first CIPAce™ project.

Challenge 6:

SaaS often requires additional bandwidth and redundant internet connections in order to achieve acceptable performance.

We approach each implementation on a case-by-case basis. Performance is a central part of our contracts. Often, our customers have sufficient capacity. Even when this is not the case, a customer can add bandwidth capacity and still achieve lower total delivered cost.

In addition to Gorson’s factors, we bring exceptional value as a SaaS provider given CIPAce™ is our bread and butter. Every CIPPlanner works to maximize this suite of enterprise solutions.
Further, we bring IT and domain experts to each implementation project.

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