SaaS vendor converts offering to packaged software

By , Network World |  On-demand Software, Relational Networks

In the past few years a rush of software vendors have latched onto the software-as-a-service bandwagon, converting packaged software offerings for use in the Web-hosted model.

Now one longtime SaaS vendor is doing the opposite, after finding that numerous enterprises are not comfortable running applications outside their firewalls.

"Some companies had issues with putting information out on the cloud, because of security and compliance concerns," says Rick McEachern, co-founder and chairman of Relational Networks, maker of the LongJump application building platform.

Relational Networks in Sunnyvale, Calif., was founded in 2003 to provide Web-based CRM to the media industry. In 2006, the company used the same Web application platform that drives its CRM business to introduce LongJump, a cloud service that lets enterprises and ISVs build and deliver their own SaaS applications.

The on-demand offering attracted about 250 paying customers, McEachern says. But, "there's a category of customers who just won't be putting their information out on a Salesforce.com or Amazon EC2. They just won't for compliance reasons," he says. "For those customers we see an opportunity to run the same capabilities they like and run it on premises as a private cloud."

Relational Networks announced Tuesday that it has developed a packaged software version of LongJump that can be deployed by enterprises within their own firewalls, eliminating many of the compliance, security and confidentiality concerns related to placing applications over the Internet.

Touted benefits of the software package include control over multi-tenancy; portability of applications from within the data center to a cloud hosting provider; and customization of user interface to maintain a company's branding and user experience. The company expects to get interest from highly regulated industries like health care and financial services.

While many software vendors have converted packaged software offerings into Web-based platforms, McEachern says flipping that model on its head has some advantages.

"We built it from the beginning from the perspective of a software-as-a-service platform," he says. "We're not going from a single-tenancy model and [forcing in] multi-tenancy concepts."

The LongJump Business Application Platform is available now. Customers referenced in the vendor's press release include NES Financial, which is using the software to bring new financial services to market.

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