From ASP to the Cloud
It has been a long time since we hear the word "cloud" in Indonesia, and I think the biggest factor is the accelerated improvement of the network infrastructure environment.
In the late 90's, when the Internet through a dial-up connection began to spread, most of the use of the Web was for browsing websites for information gathering, but the use of the Web spread from outside the company to the company intranet, and the movement to construct in-house Web systems centered on groupware, etc. was relatively early, even in Jakarta, where the IT environment is far behind that of Japan.
When I think about it now, the trend of using applications on the web started around this time, but it was only in the world of internal LAN, and even then, LAN cables with 100MBps of CAT5 were widely used, so the barrier to build web applications in the company was surprisingly low.
Incidentally, in my case, the first job I did in Jakarta was to develop BI (Business Intelligence) for the factory's core system data using ASP (Active Server Pages).
Finally, in the first half of 2000, a business called ASP (Application Service Provider), which provides application services prepared on the server side, was born, and so to speak, the return of our ancestors from "decentralization to centralization" began to occur.
When I was working at a Japanese company, people said to me, "This is the era of decentralization", and I wondered why they were centralizing again. At the time, I felt very uncomfortable, but in the end, the wall of the network infrastructure prevented ASP from becoming popular.
In addition, a few years later, SaaS (Software as a Service) is the next wave of ASP, but even so, the wall of network infrastructure is still high, and I think it was only spread in the private network area using VPN (Virtual Private Network) and the like, even though it became more popular than ASP.
From the end user's point of view, the difference between ASP, SaaS and the cloud is not even noticeable, the point is that they use application services, development environment, infrastructure environment, etc. via the Internet or VPN. From the service provider's point of view, the major feature of the cloud is the price destruction achieved through a major technological innovation called virtualization.
After the floods in Thailand and the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the flow of operating corporate information assets in data centers accelerated at a rapid pace, and with the development of virtualization technology, VPS (Virtual Private Server) services became popular, enabling low-cost and secure server operations.
What I wanted to say by listing the trends in the world chronologically is that I think it is important to consider what kind of technical knowledge will be important for system integration (SI) work in the future.
I used to roughly divide SI work into infrastructure-related (hardware) and business-related (software) work, but I think that the content of each will change.
For example, in the case of infrastructure, the knowledge of setting up an environment for operating an external virtual server using VPS is more important than building a file server or application server in-house.
In the case of business, the world will become more and more convenient for the end user as a result of cloud computing, but in the end, the technology that will not change even if it is cloud computing, and the technology that cannot be replaced will be necessary.
I think it's the knowledge of business applications, development technology on web frameworks and platforms, and the knowledge of the front end to develop adapters and interfaces to make BI using the data stored in mission-critical systems.
A system that matches the volume of your business
In my work on business system implementation in Indonesia, I often find myself worrying that the system has too many functions for our customers from a technical point of view, but in terms of sales, I have no choice but to recommend that they install a solid system in anticipation of business expansion in the future.
A highly functional and expensive system that can create production and procurement plans from sales forecasts and unofficial information, as well as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which are not only management tools, but also help to create business strategies and metrics that help to define the degree of achievement of organizational goals.
- The core master of the system must be entered correctly.
- The results must be entered accurately and timely.
- Select staff members who are fully aware and skilled in operating the system.
- We are not responsible for any damage or loss of profit caused by this system.
However, as the Upah Minimum Kabupaten (UMK) wage has risen, the reduction of labor costs in the back-office sector has become an important issue in the Japanese manufacturing industry in Indonesia, and few factories can afford to hire an IT appointee. A functional system has been installed, but it is very costly to use and very uncomfortable to use.
When you buy a car as an individual, you can decide that the car that is worthy of your income is not a Honda CR-V, but a Toyota Avanza, but when you install the system as a company, you can buy a Ferrari for some reason, fill it up with Premium gasoline with an octane rating of 88 at a Pom bensin (gas station) in Pertamina, and the V12 engine goes off.
Increase the cost of system installation by making it cheaper and more expensive.
Even if the customer has a desire to build such a system based on their rich business knowledge and experience, in order to express it in the form of a system, it will cost SI fees or license fees, plus implementation support fees.
- Scratch Development
- Customizing Open Source
- SaaS (Cloud) type
- Automatically generated by PaaS (Platform as a Service)
Regardless of the form in which the SI provider provides business system services, as long as the customer places a high priority on cost performance, we propose to reduce costs by introducing only the basic functions in a short period of time and adding on the missing functions as needed to shorten the development period, which costs man-months.
Reduction of development time with PaaS
SaaS (Software as a service) and PaaS (Platform as a service) are both differences in the form of cloud services, in a nutshell, it is the difference between using a system on the Internet or developing and using it.
In the case of SaaS, the business system itself is a dedicated cloud system already developed by the company providing the service, and it does not fall under the category of SaaS if you purchase a license for your own web-based accounting system and use it as a private cloud by connecting to the data center with a VPN.
In Indonesia, due to the improvement of internet connection speed in recent years, some companies are offering SaaS services such as accounting, payroll, and human resource management as "cloud-type business systems", and the trend from the on-premise type, where licenses are purchased in bulk and servers are placed and managed in-house, to the cloud-type will progress more and more, but I think the point is how low the software usage fees can be set.
I believe that the time will come within a few years when Japanese companies in Indonesia will think more seriously about system investment from a cost perspective, and we may look back on the days when we used to implement a batch of systems costing tens of millions of yen in the past.
On the other hand, in PaaS, the business system developed by the service provider does not fit the company's business model, so it is supposed to be used when you want to develop your own, but you want to shorten the development time and keep the cost down, but I think that there are few business system PaaS services that can meet this level of detail at the moment.
Salesforce and Cybozu's development platform is mainly for the development of customer web services such as CRM at the moment, but I think the flow of PaaS will spread to the field of update systems such as business systems in the near future.