At Digité, we have been a web-based application right from the start. Before Cloud, before SaaS, there was ASP – and our initial product launch was as an ASP – Application Service Provider. As luck would have it, a majority of our customers preferred to host the application ‘on-premise’ and simply wanted to buy the license from us. This worked very well for us – because it gave us invaluable experience in a variety of areas, from the challenges of implementing an enterprise software across the organization, to testing the software for the scalability and robustness needed for a deployment such as Infosys, our largest customer, with a 100,000 users on a single Windows/ SQL Server based installation of Digité Enterprise.
Over the last 8 years, we have implemented Digité at Corporate IT, IT Consulting and Services as well as ISV organizations. And, amongst the many lessons we learned, we picked on two – the challenges an organization is trying to overcome by implementing a solution such as Digité – and the challenges an organization goes through trying to implement an enterprise solution like Digité.
Structured Chaos, Unstructured Innovation
Our customers are in the business of developing or maintaining or implementing software – in-house or third party, custom or off-the-shelf. This is hard work that usually involves defining requirements and building or assembling software solutions that meet those requirements. This is by itself a tough job; introduce geographic, cultural, logistical and technology barriers of today’s global economy, and the job becomes tougher by several magnitudes. Our customers have seen the value that Digité provides by giving them a flexible, easy to use, lightweight and cost effective mechanism to quickly get organized in their development processes so that they can get on with the far tougher job of building great software! Over the last 8 years, we have been amazed over and over again at how our customers’ teams have innovated to build great software to delight their own customers, internal or external. And we have learned from those experiences. Key amongst them – that people don’t want to reinvent the wheel. If someone has already done it, reuse and build on top of it! And two, keep things simple, yet comprehensive enough. “Just enough process” is a recurring theme.
The Small Matter of Organizational Change Management
Implementing ANY enterprise software is not easy; implementing Digité Enterprise – which pretty much touches everybody in a software/ IT organization, can be even tougher. When you are coming off a culture of using email, spreadsheet and some basic project management software, the job of moving everyone to a somewhat standardized way of doing things – managing projects, building software, measuring progress – can be daunting. More than technical learning challenges, more than software challenges – quality, integration, migration, performance, etc. – people simply have a hard time doing something they have been used to doing one way to a new, even if better, way. Yet, in spite of conventional wisdom, an overwhelming majority of our customers have succeeded in meeting this challenge through a combination of process, scope control, phased implementation planning, management buy-in, user buy-in, and more. More often than not, two of the key ingredients to success have been to keep things simple – and to aim for speedy, short cycle-time implementation milestones. The resulting success and the perceived (and real) progress of the implementation itself provides a positive reinforcement which further propels further implementation!
Digité SaaS – Solutions as a Service
Agile ALM or Application Lifecycle Management has become a force to reckon with, especially in the Global Delivery Model. Most technology companies – small or large – are trying to leverage distributed resources and teams to deliver their products and services. With the events of late 2008 and 2009, interest in SaaS applications has made it a viable business model once again. We believe that we MUST share with our customers, especially the Small and Medium Business enterprises, the lessons we have learned over the last 8 years in Digité with respect to overcoming the 2 challenges discussed above. Digité’s Agile ALM on SaaS is our new service that aims to do precisely that.
Vice President – Product