by Jiten Patel

Cloud Computing, SaaS & Microfinance Institutions – a win, win for all

Jul 15, 20094 mins
Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing, SaaS & Microfinance Institutions - a win, win for all

What is cloud computing? Cloud computing is essentially delivering “Computing” as a service (CaaS) whereas SaaS is referred to as a Software as a service; strictly speaking software/application offered as a service under the label of SaaS must have multi-tenant capability in order for it to be truly called SaaS, otherwise it is simply a hosted app from one’s own data center or is simply an ASP if the vendor provides the software and hosts it.

Boomi blog called cloud computing “Computing as a utility” (CaaU)

Cloud computing encompasses all that occurs from the firewall out, including any and all hardware related stuff, like virtualization, and access to any software, including SaaS.

By its nature Saas resides in the cloud.

or another way to look at this is … first there was ASP, then came SaaS, and then came the Cloud.

Having said all that, this is great, it is apple pie and everything is nice and peachy. Ahhh but, and yes there are always buts in life, and this one is no different but one that requires careful consideration. With ASP, SaaS, Cloud one gives up one’s total lock and control over one’s data. Well you may say that that is equally true when one hosts using a 3rd party hosting provider, and you would be correct to assert that.

One should note that such decisions need to be made carefully and that one demands clearunderstanding of how the service provider will manage and maintain the security, confidentiality and privacy over this data, your data, and one must demand rigorous SLAs in order for one to sleep peacefully.

I firmly believe that the likes of Microsoft, Google, ORACLE, IBM, HP and others should loosen their focus away from just simply providing enterprise type apps under the Cloud computing or SaaS typeenvironments. Yes it is much easier to provide enterprise type apps as one can scale this service with those apps.

Just focusing on Enterprise apps excludes a huge market. The key question is how to make it worthwhile to provide a slew of other apps that thousands of businesses need and use every day across the globe.

Quick question … why do major car manufacturers (before they went bankrupt, I hasten to add) partake in Formula One racing? It is very expensive to play in the F1 sandpit, but play they do. They do so essentially to test new technologies whether that be the major components such as the engine,transmission, chassis, etc … in the way its designed, the materials used in the design to test reliability, durability, flexibility, speed, and so on. It offers a wonderful proving ground.

Similarly, the big h/w and s/w boys ought to be doing the same, and they ought to seriously consider working with microfinance institutions that operate in the poor/developing countries. Whymicrofinance institutions around the globe? Okay, okay, any global NGO that handles thousands oftransactions per week.

And why only those in poor/developing countries? For good reason, in these countries one does not have reliable electricity, and one does not have reliable Internet access. By designing services to operate under such conditions and terrain makes it much more robust having weathered the stress and strain of operating under such harsh conditions. And also worth noting is that it enables these h/w and s/w providers to optimize and lower their support costs as a result – if one can design easy to use and more reliable and robust services then one can infer that the number of support calls would also be lower, which bodes well for all concerned.

Hence microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the globe, who  class=”blsp-spelling-corrected”>predominantly operate in the poor-developing countries, and who already suffer from lack of access to good software, IT expertise, and the burden of operating their own little data center in the broom closet.

The Cloud and SaaS providers and the MFIs both stand to benefit, and both can achieve scale and be able to do so with a lower operating cost.