What is saas

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Reference no: EM13653138

Case Study:

When Japan's postal service was privatised in 2007, the newly formed company needed to integrate the systems of its three constituent divisions: Postal Savings; Postal Life Insurance and Postal Service. But the timescale for achieving that was perilously short.

"We only had three months to develop and implement a system that would allow us to consolidate paper-based customer data and feedback [taken] from our branch offices to be used for systems development," recalls Akira Iwasaki, CIO of Japan Post.

"We decided to build the applications on Force.com as we felt it was the only platform that could accomplish the task in our short timescale," he explains.

Japan Post's use of the Force.com on-demand applications platform from Salesforce.com is simultaneously one of the largest SaaS deployments in the world and one of the most innovative.

Using Salesforce.com's Apex development language, Japan Post built an application running on the on-demand CRM provider's infrastructure in just over two months. The SaaS basis of the application allowed the company to roll it out to its 24,000 branches with considerable ease. It now supports over 65,000 users.

According to Iwasaki's estimates, the Force.com deployment has to date involved about one tenth of the cost of building, managing and supporting an equivalent proprietary system.

But the real proof of success is the speed with which his development team can implement changes to the system. "Our IT resources are limited, but change is constant. Therefore the key measure of success has been the development productivity, the flexibility and the ability to change things easily," says Iwasaki.

"We plan on rolling out SaaS for all other areas of IT apart from our core systems and detailed analytics," he adds.


1. What is SaaS?

2. What are some of the challenges that Japan Post Network and its employees and customers will face as the company seeks to roll out the new applications in such a short time frame?

3. What are some strategies that could be used to address the challenges?

4. What are the main considerations of Japan Post management to choose SaaS as the preferred solution?

5. What are the disadvantages, if any, of relying on cloud computing and SaaS for the provision of mission-critical applications such as the one enabling the cross-selling of products and services from other companies in the group?

6. During the solution/vendor selection, Japan Post opted for a formal, public, competitive bidding process, what are disadvantages and advantages of taking this approach? What were they looking to accomplish?

7. What are the most important factors that management should asses as they select providers?

8. The majority of the development for the new systems used by Japan Post was achieved by putting together components that already existed in the Force.com platform. Is this the best approach - or even a possible one - for all kinds of systems (e.g. strategic, functional, and so forth)? Identify the advantages of this approach.

9. Identify some disadvantages of developing applications that relies on existing components that developed by external vendors.

10. What are the key infrastructure requirements for an organization that decides to implement SaaS?

Reference no: EM13653138

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