Web based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are becoming the dominant technology for delivering business process platforms. This is true for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and internal systems such as sales management.
Very few of the SaaS environments are "blank sheet" projects developed from scratch with all new code. Most include a mix of new software, current sub-systems, proven components, and legacy systems. All of these must be integrated into a unified solution.
The applications addressed by SaaS technology cover every aspect of business. The components integrated range from new Web 2.0 technologies to legacy applications from the IBM 360 mainframe era.
However, as different as each SaaS systems may be, the process of integration generates some common requirements:
A User view that is integrated and seamless
A Single point of user management
The ability to find needed information from across multiple component and sub-systems
Continuously improving user know-how and user's ability to extract value.
These requirements identify the potential for horizontal (cross industry) technology components that can be used by all SaaS environments. This reduces development cost, improves ROI, and shortens time-to-market by focusing development on the value-add parts of the environment and not on re-inventing common components. These components often call for "use once" skills where the learning overhead dwarfs actual productive time.
In the development of the Client Interface Environment, the SQI on-demand system for supporting high-tech clients, a number of key technology platforms were developed. These are listed below.
|Chapter��2, “Application Bus”||
Description. Provides system administrators with a single point of management for creating users and granting access rights to multiple applications.
Provides users with a single login for multiple applications, Also provides users with a browser toolbar that presents application available and access with a single click.
Solves. Enables integration of multiple applications into a unified user experience.
|Chapter��3, “KnowledgeDex - Secure Enterprise Search”||
Description. Provides crawling technology that can index silos of information across different security domains into a single full-text index.
Also provides the user side search tools that give "on the fly" results, full web=page results, and advanced search criteria.
A search result set is generated as a two step process: 1) a set of all documents meeting the criteria is built on the server, 2) the result set is filtered against users' access rights producing a sub-set of documents that the user has rights to see. This final set is passed back to the user.
Solves. Brings the confidential knowledge assets of a corporation, which are protected by an explicit security domain, under the same full-text search technology that has changed the world. Vets the the results against the searcher's security to provide only those links they are allowed access to.
|Chapter��4, “Contribution Visualization”||
Description. Provides graphic visualization of content contributions to a wiki environment. Per page visualization shows summary of content growth by contributor by time. How and when each current sentence, title or image is also presented through a visualization.
Site wide growth in content over time and content contribution by individual is also presented as a visualization.
Solves. Tracking who is effectively contribution to a collaborative environment such as a wiki.
|Chapter��5, “Content Navigation Tool ”||
Description. Provides an end user navigation technology to WIKI content using the book/chapter/section metaphor.
Solves. WIKI content is loosely organized via hyper-links within the content that the user can follow if interested. The spaghetti with threads leading everywhere is powerful but not an easy organization of material to understand.
As content in a WIKI matures some of the material will take a more structured form. This tool allows the hierarchical and sequential organization of a book to be overlayed on the WIKI. This navigation overlay is done without modifying the standard page content of the WIKI.
|Chapter��6, “Multi-Channel Publishing (DocBook) ”||
Description. The SQI DocBook System combines the power of our Knowledge Base technology - direct input from content authors, continuous improvement, instants publishing, and extensive search - with the power of DocBook technology - extensive specialized markup for technical publication and multichannel publishing. The result is a on-demand environment where content experts can update material at any time, these enhancements are instantly published, updated material is instantly re-indexed, and html for the Web and PDF for printed output are simultaneously produced.
Solves. The need for the knowledge contained in collaborative knowledge centers to be presented through different media depending on the recipient and their specific requirements.media
|Chapter��7, “Software Delivery and Customer Database via PayPal ”||
Description. Provides the infrastructure around customers using PayPal to purchase a software download. This includes generating a 3 day download key, building a customer database, and re-issuing download key.
Solves. Enables small firms and startups to quickly implement download services without impacting their key developers.
Each of these technology platforms is tightly integrated into the CIE and provides the core of the SQI services. However, each technology platforms remains a discrete system under its own source code control. Thus, each platform is available to be re-tasked and integrated into other business process.
SQI built, over time, a series of custom SaaS applications for customers. When customers added second and sometimes third applications to the mix it triggered the need to simplify the customer experience and provide better tools for security management. In response, SQI developed the CIE and invested in the integrating components. The experience of developing the infrastructure while having a prime commitment to the specialized applications required by small business promoted a skill set that features simplicity, certainty and cost containment.
SQI's core competency is integrating small business applications into a user and customer friendly framework.