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The Race for SaaS: Do Telcos Have Their Heads in the Right Clouds?
Today's recessionary times are good news for providers of cloud services and cloud service enabling technologies. Flexibility and lower costs associated with consuming infrastructure and software from the cloud and the fact that they need only to pay for the cloud services they use in an operational expenditure (opex) model is winning over enterprises. This means that enterprise customers are out shopping for such services, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and business processes as a service (BPaaS).

Telcos are beginning to spot the value of supporting new SaaS developers as they build out a next generation of enterprise applications. Together, telcos with their new developer ecosystems can start addressing the small to medium enterprise (SME) market, which has not traditionally been able to afford to implement enterprise resource planning (ERP), for example, with a low-cost, on-demand, communications-enabled SaaS proposition.

Telcos that build their own platforms will control their own cloud destinies but may find it takes longer to get to market and to bring a critical mass of ISVs on board. On the other hand, telcos undergoing OSS/BSS transformation and SDP implementations are well placed to extend these programs to support SaaS. Through these initiatives, they can ensure that they do not create silos of operational function and that relevant OSS/BSS function and supporting billing, rating and charging, provisioning, and assurance systems are reused.

In the spirit of the cloud, telcos looking to provide cloud services, including SaaS, should investigate whether they can use cloud-based versions of transformational technologies, such as the SDP. IBM's vision of hosting the SDP in the cloud so that service providers can establish virtual service businesses without the need to own their own OSS/BSS, service creation environments, and third-party onboarding capabilities points the way here.

Telcos have several options as they explore the SaaS opportunity, but it is a complex market with a lot of confusion and noise. The Race for SaaS: Do Telcos Have Their Heads in the Right Clouds? examines the different SaaS strategies open to operators and the competition they face from ISVs building cloud capabilities and other cloud providers. It discusses the trade-offs telcos must make between getting to market quickly using a third-party SaaS aggregation and delivery platform and creating value-added differentiation by building their own platform. It also evaluates the advantages of augmenting an SaaS offer with a platform as a service (PaaS) and even BPaaS and analyzes the telco SaaS propositions from pioneering vendors in this market.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (ssi1209toc.pdf)
The big question facing telcos that want to deploy an SaaS aggregation and delivery platform is whether they build a customized platform or buy one. If they buy, should they buy a pre-integrated suite of function that supports SaaS aggregation and delivery and customize it for their purposes? Or should they buy SaaS aggregation and delivery as a cloud-based service? The following excerpt summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the three available SaaS aggregation and delivery platform deployment scenarios.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: Apprenda LLC; Cordys Software B.V.; Corent Technology Inc.; Hubspan Inc.; IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM); Jamcracker Inc.; LongJump, a service of Relational Networks Inc.; NEC Corp. (Pink Sheets: NIPNF); OpSource Inc.; RevX Systems Corp.; and VMOps Inc.
Total pages: 25
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