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SaaS Tool Allows Non-programmers to Build Enterprise-class Applications
By Richard Adhikari, 09 May 2008
CIOs, value-added resellers and business managers can now create their own custom database applications without writing any code, through SaaSWizard.
The result can either be served up in software as a service (SaaS) mode or installed on-premise behind the enterprise firewall.
Developers can either customize built-in SaaSWizard templates, such as EnterpriseWizard CRM, or create applications from scratch.
Version 2.1 of SaaSWizard has just been announced; the platform has been in full production use for more than a year, and has "been deployed at companies such as Emerson Process Management, Chevron and Baker Energy," Colin Earl, SaaSWizard CEO, told InternetNews.com.
Using SaaSWizard makes application development faster and less costly: It takes "maybe 25 percent of the time you'd normally need compared to using other tools" to build a vertical application for which the business rules have already been defined when you use SaaSWizard, said Steve Chipman, founder and president of Lexnet Consulting Group, a SaaSWizard VAR.
For custom applications developed from scratch, it takes "less than half the time compared to off-the-shelf tools like C# and SQL Server," Chipman said.
Lexnet is also a VAR for Sage Software, and creates sales, marketing and customer support applications on both MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.
Last December, it released Manulogic, a vertical customer support and CRM application for serialized equipment manufacturers, which was built using SaaSWizard.
SaaSWizard has "created a unique rapid application development platform in a SaaS environment," Chipman said. "It's browser based, and is deployed as a multi-tenant SaaS, single-server SaaS or deployed on premise."
A multi-tenant application which lets you host multiple customers on a single CPU or server, which reduces the cost to customers. So, a server can support hundreds of custom applications created with SaaSWizard, each with a unique data model and custom business rules, workflows and look and feel.
As a VAR, Chipman can private label the SaaSWizard code, but it's still hosted on the SaaSWizard servers, which means "we don't have to get into the hosting business, and that saves us money," Chipman said.
That cost reduction is one of the main appeals of software delivered in SaaS mode; enterprises don't have to go to the cost of purchasing and maintaining hardware and having IT maintenance teams.
SaaSWizard also offers an appliance, a server that comes with SaaSWizard pre-installed and pre-configured for customers' networks. This can handle more than 40 thousand tickets per hour, and Earl said it turned in "excellent performance" when tested on a database with more than 10 million records.
The server, built by ASA Computers, is "a Linux-based machine for which we provide a unconditional guarantee of performance based upon the number of users," Earl said.
Such unconditional guarantees are unusual, if not non-existent in IT, as failure to live up to them opens up a company to lawsuits.
The guarantee is provided through a service level agreement (SLA) for software offered as a service; where customers prefer to buy the software and have it on-premise, SaaSWizard will log interactive performance on the machine.
If a customer's corporate policy dictates hardware from a particular vendor, SaaSWizard will install its software on that machine, whether it runs Linux or Windows, but it "will not unconditionally guarantee performance on a third party machine," Earl said.