If you manage learning programs for your organization, chances are you already know us. NetDimensions offers Learning Management Systems (LMS) solutions that are quick to implement – with more deployment and licensing options than any other provider – and with typically lower costs. Our security solutions are ‘Best in Class’ and our user interface is dynamically adjustable, responsive and based on your organization and its preferences. But have you looked at our LMS scalability? We’re talking big numbers.
With today’s learners tending to upskill on the go, a mobile LMS is all the rage in the consumer marketplace. Different kinds of Learning Management Systems offer different features and flexibility, and the pros and cons of in-house and cloud-based systems depend on the unique requirements of your organization, such as its security needs. Picking the best solution is a case of considering a wide range of factors, so here are a few questions to ask.
Data breaches not only embarrass an organization and damage its customers’ confidence; they are costly as well – according to the 2016 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis published by IBM and Ponemon Institute in June, the average total cost of a data breach globally increased from $3.79 million in 2015 to $4 million in 2016.
The average total organizational cost of a data breach in the US this year is $7.01 million (2015: $6.53 million), in Germany, $5.01 million (2015: $4.89 million), and in the UK, $3.95 million (2015: $3.70 million). And those numbers don’t include the potential reputation damage an organization can suffer in the marketplace once word of the breach spreads.
LMS Security Matters
Not surprisingly, protecting important data stored on organizational IT systems is a key concern of many executives. In addressing application security management it is critical that organizations should not overlook their Learning Management Systems (LMSs).
In part 1 of this post we analyzed SaaS as a “disruptive innovation” and what that may entail in terms of value to clients and SaaS providers.
Although SaaS is a well-understood model today, there are differences on how SaaS providers define SaaS (or their preferred flavor of SaaS). A number of leading SaaS vendors have claimed multi-tenancy as a necessary component of any SaaS offering. There is a fair amount of controversy here, but is multi-tenancy what defines SaaS?
As a quick backgrounder, multi-tenancy refers to a software architecture where a single instance of the software runs on a server, serving multiple tenants, where tenants are separate companies, or in a broader sense, any application – either inside or outside the enterprise – that needs its own secure and exclusive virtual computing environment. So how does multi-tenancy come to play?
SaaS is, according to Clayton Christensen, Harvard professor and author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, a “disruptive technology or “disruptive innovation.” In a very basic way, it is disruptive to the way software has been traditionally marketed, sold, delivered, and maintained.
As a “disruptive innovation,” there are some fundamental truths that we can’t shy away from:
- Like every new “disruptive technology,” SaaS is probably not as good a solution all-around as an on-premise deployment. In a lot of cases, SaaS is still challenged in terms of interactivity, flexibility to customize, ease of integration, and security. However, what matters is not whether SaaS is as good a solution as on-premise deployments (or whether it will ever be), but whether SaaS is good enough to meet the needs of most companies – and this is really the tipping point.
- SaaS was built on the premise of delivery of software over the internet. Five years ago, this was challenging in terms of available web application technologies, enterprise integration points, and network bandwidth. Today, this is not the case as internet bandwidth and web services have rapidly progressed. Another tipping point.
- SaaS offers a cost advantage over on-premise, license-based software delivery models. This cost advantage is based on virtualization and resource sharing on the vendors’ side, but it also translates into more flexible, usage-based or pay-as-you-grow models for buyers. And this advantage is not relevant to just small companies anymore, but to enterprise and global organizations as well. Yet again, another tipping point.
- As with every “disruptive technology,” the leading vendors of the prior generation of the technology, which is software here (see Oracle, SAP) are not likely to lead in the new generation, and new leaders are likely to emerge (see Salesforce.com, Workday). This is because leading companies tend to focus on immediate customer needs and short-term license revenue targets. Also, fear of cannibalizing their profitable product lines prevents them from making the necessary investments on disruptive, but necessary innovations.
- The best way for an existing leading company to become a serious player in the new generation following the “disruptive innovation” is to set up a separate entity with a different P&L center that will invest in this “disruptive technology” without any interference from existing lines of business. Cannibalization down the line is inevitable, but at some point, if that new entity does indeed build a business off the new “disruptive technology,” it can become a catalyst for change for the entire company and into the new generation. It’s probably too early to say, but SAP seems to be trying to follow this approach based on their actions after the acquisition of SuccessFactors.
In part 2 of this post, we will review the definition of SaaS and how it matters for vendors and buyers at the end of day.