I’ve written previously about Service-now, an enterprise level service management tool. The other day I had an email from Doron Gordon, CEO of SAManage, an Israeli on-demand IT Asset & Service management service. Gordon was keen to get me to take a look at SAManage and in his introductory email told me that they:
compete with Service-Now. Our advantages are usability, design, and multi-tenancy which allows us to deliver self-provisioning and self-service
I’ll not dwell on the usability and design aspects, in my review of Service-now I mentioned that I found it quite complex to use and that this complexity somewhat hampered the usability of the product. I’ve included some screenshots from SAManage below or even better check their demo account on the site.
What I wanted to write about however was the multi-tenancy issue that Gordon raised. You see Service-now are unashamedly single-tenant – interestingly enough they even have a presentation differentiating SaaS and ASP in which they mention the perils of multi-tenancy (alleged inflexibility). Funnily enough we’re in the process of writing a whitepaper comparing and contrasting on-premise, ASP and SaaS and also focused on multi-tenancy as a core issue – our analysis is somewhat different to Service-now’s though in that we consider multi-tenancy to be close to a core requirement for SaaS.
At the recent SuiteCloud event (see disclosure) we saw the high levels of customization that NetSuite is offering end users through its multi-tenant application.
Interestingly enough, a company I’m an advisor to, Connect2Field, is right now going through the perils-of-single-tenancy issue. Connect2Field is an application for field service workers and one of the barriers to growth they’d been encountering was their (until recently) single-tenant approach. This approach has some particular detrimental impacts:
Inability to self provision
Part of the strategy that a SaaS vendor needs to adopt is enabling the self-provision of the application by end users. Quite simply there should be no impediment to a user signing up and starting with the application immediately – single-tenancy unfortunately requires that a separate database be set up for each user and results in a manual process needing to be made for provisioning. A previous single-tenancy strategy directly impacted on the ability of Connect2Field to grow its userbase without significant manual input.
While I’m a firm believer in articulating the added value that SaaS can bring – one of the benefits many of us articulate when talking about SaaS is the cost savings that can be made. Part of these cost savings are obtained by the vendor building their applications as efficiently as possible – both in terms of provisioning efficiencies (see above) but also in terms of ongoing efficiencies. Running a SaaS application in a multi-tenant format best places a vendor to realize, and hence pass on to their customer, these efficiencies.
Multi-tenancy enables vendors to learn from performance issues, solve them and have that solution immediately driving benefits for all of their customers. It’s also a real driver of trust – with single-tenancy only the customer affected knows when an application goes down. With multi-tenancy everyone is affected and hence this drives performance improvements, service improvements and honesty from the vendor.
Anyway – enough about multi-tenancy and back to the SAManage application. As the following screenshots suggest, and my kick around with the demo version confirm, SAManage is an intuitive product to use – it doesn’t take long to achieve at least a rudimentary understanding of how it works – something that is important for any product selling into businesses were users have any degree of autonomy over what they use – if it’s not intuitive and easy to get to grips with, there’s plenty of other offerings which are.
Of course SAManage gives users a nice graphical dashboard – full of the requisite pie chart and bar graphs:
And with a nod to enterprise 2.0 – SAManage has a bunch of collaborative type functionality – in this example a service ticket can have comment, files and related incidents affixed to it by the operator or other collaborators – it also allows for auto tagging to facilitate findability at a later date:
From what I saw SAManage is a nice product that nicely blends the usability and functionality that it’s medium and enterprise customers require.