Designing Models for Software as a Service in Cloud Computing

Designing Models for Software as a Service in Cloud Computing

Jaymeen Shah (Texas State University, Department of Computer Information Systems & Quantitative Methods, San Marcos, TX, USA), Hsun-Ming Lee (Texas State University, Department of Computer Information Systems & Quantitative Methods, San Marcos, TX, USA) and Vivek Shah (Texas State University, Department of Computer Information Systems & Quantitative Methods, San Marcos, TX, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJISSS.2017070101
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Abstract

This paper details the case study of the model development at a company that offers software as a service (SaaS) to clients in the services industry. The growing market for SaaS provides the company tremendous opportunities to succeed as a startup. A new cloud-based system is aimed at facilitating the automation of cross-department collaboration by integrating company's Web applications to other service providers and Enterprise Resource Planning systems. However, as it is challenging to dynamically integrate multiple autonomous software systems, the company has identified Web services technologies as the foundation of the next generation software solutions. To create an extensible solution, Event-Driven Process Chain and Unified Modeling Language models are developed to model enterprise business processes and their departmental functions. The models are abstract views of complex enterprise systems. After the implementation of such models, the management team can further address issues related to the cost effectiveness, reliability and data security of software-supported business processes.
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Introduction

This paper is a case study of Services Inc. (pseudonym), which is a leading cloud-based service lifecycle management (SLM) software provider for small and medium field service companies. Their clients include companies in the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry, as well as in the, plumbing, pool and spa, pest control and other service businesses. Services Inc. provides a complete software as a service (SaaS) solution through Web-based software to the sole proprietor who wants to manage his/her growing business as well as the multi-location enterprises that need to manage large territories of customers. The clients can subscribe to the SaaS solution on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. SLM deals with all phases of the customer’s interaction with a product and the company that sells it, from pre-sale evaluation through maintenance and eventually to the purchase of a new product. The clients that benefit from the use of SLM software are able to increase revenue, achieve higher margin, reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.

Services Inc. is a privately held startup company based in Texas, USA. Recently, Services Inc. has forged new strategic partnerships to assist service technicians do their jobs more effectively and efficiently ensuring a positive experience at the point of service execution, which adds to the customer’s perception of value. Services Inc. has also formed a strategic partnership with a company providing software for supporting call center automation and location aware mobility. This partnership is to enable Services Inc. to develop a new solution for mobile Unified Service Lifecycle Management (USLM), which extends and synchronizes the flow of business process automation across divisional and corporate boundaries. Moreover, it transforms service business’s ability to manage the customer from lead to product sale, and during the service periods and product retirement phase. The solution is to ensure that a company’s face-to-face time with the customer, via the technician, is a positive experience, as well as in making the overall service delivery more effective and efficient.

Service Inc. plans to ride the trend of growing business in cloud computing. As expected, the ubiquity of the Internet will inevitably force the next generation of organizations to move away from their current legacy systems and business workflows, and organize themselves into virtual enterprises (Heuvel & Maamar, 2003). The evidence of this trend is seen clearly, as an increasing number of e-commerce companies, such as Amazon.com and Salesforce.com, are offering cloud-based software services that enable business-to-business application integration. Service Inc. identifies Web services technologies as the foundation of the next generation software solutions. Web services enable an e-commerce system to expose its functionality to other business applications through Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), which provides the standard for exchanging structured information on the Web.

To create an extensible solution, a project is initiated to design models for Web services used in SLM applications. In this study, different types of models are used to specify and describe departmental functions and integrated business processes. The models are abstract views of complex enterprise systems. The management team can benefit from developing such models to further address issues related to software-supported business processes.

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