Transformation of On-Premise Application to Multi-Tenant SaaS Solution For Supply Chain Services
Cloud based application, SaaS (Software as a Service)
Pharmaceutical, Supply Chain services
Transforming an application into a fully multi-tenant SaaS application. SOMLink is an flagship application of e-Supply for suspicious order monitoring. SOMLink is used in varied ‘pharmaceutical management system’ and seamlessly integrates with customer’s existing systems to capture suspicious orders and report them. It integrates with any Order Management application to automatically analyze each new order against 24 month order history for each line item and ship-to location.
A solution was required so that the SOM suite of applications, the SOMLink and DF16 will be integrated into a SaaS based environment. As a result, web services will be used to transfer status data between the two systems, and order history data will be provided by the clients in the form of tabular data transfers from the customer environment to the e-SupplyLink environment.
Key Functional Areas:
- Conversion of a single-tenant web application to a multi-tenant cloud application
- Service Oriented Architecture
- Expansion of the capabilities of the current SOM Validation process in order to give the users the power and flexibility to control what, and how the process performs the validation
- New features including performing validation tests based on peer relationships, controlled substances, and Item Family groups.
- Self Service – sign up
- Subscription/billing/metering mechanism
- Monitoring, configuration and management of tenants
- User identification and authentication
- Customization for each tenant
- Third party integration
The most and primary important step was to select the best & robust cloud infrastructure to deploy the application in the SaaS environment. There were certain points which were deeply considered while choosing the best cloud vendor. Details scrutinization was done on the infrastructure requirements to understand the internal components and functioning to make an efficient and robust SaaS solution. Had also interacted with their sales managers/solution engineers to know how they configure Cloud environment for any application and tried to get the sense of their co-operation and the way they deal with the customers.
Another step was to design the SaaS architecture with multi-tenant support. Architecture was designed in the way so that multiple organizations can have their own customizations and configure those functionalities they actually require. Database schema was structured in the way so that it can support multiple configurations of different organizations without any performance hit.
Key Highlights of the Solution Implemented
- Multi-Tenancy Implementation – ‘Database schema per tenant’ model was selected to implement in the project to enhance the ability of an application to support multiple different users while at the same time maintaining the separation and security of each individual user’s data. To achieve this, changes to the database schema, as well as a rewrite of every SQL access in the code was made.
- Self Service Sign Up – Enhanced SOMLink to support self-service sign up. An automated interface for end customers to register into the product, this means that a company record will have to be created when a tenant signs up. In addition to the company record, any other relevant initial configuration set ups will also need to be created at the time of sign up.
- Subscription – Allowing end customers to choose the subscription model of the application to which they want to register, it can be on trial basis, periodic level etc. Based on the selected subscription end customers are charged.
- Automated Billing & Metering - Ability to track and generate billing information based on usage, the number of users, etc. Capture new transactions, processes or user activities and provide metrics on all transactions. Invoices include all subscription purchases on monthly or customizable period. Application provider can view the invoice of all tenants, listed in chronological order whereas the Tenant Administrators can view data confined only to their area
- Dashboarding – Dashboard implementation to capture key business performance indicators from the enterprise data and presents them in a single view. Dashboard presents metrics, custom images, geographic views, and business service management information in individual portlets. This visually intuitive view helps to monitor the health of the business processes. It also provides each tenant usage, business growth etc. It also helps in monitoring, configuring & management of tenants.
- Tenant Customization - Mechanism to enable individual tenants to customize their part of the application, e.g. unique URL, landing page, logos, etc. Individual tenants also have the ability to add fields to the database, without affecting other tenants.
- Third party integration support – SOMLink is intended to work with customers’(organizations) existing order management system. It works on data fed to it by organizations. A SaaS based central repository was implemented to house all the data from multiple organizations. A feasible and uniform way of accepting that data was web service that can be called, which would receive incoming data from multiple sources.
- Security – Utmost importance is given to the data and application protection while configuring the SaaS environment. A secure, SAS70-certified Tier 4 data center based on SSL with 3 level of Firewalls is configured and programmed with Intrusion Detection. It prevents breaches or theft by ensuring that only authorized users have access to the application, and related data, at all times.
- Monitoring, configuration and management - Monitoring & management tools to operate, configure & manage servers from admin side. A robust & responsive customized control panel and dashboards to view the traffic were also designed as a part of this application along with server management reports. Flexible way to deploy the patches or providing the upgrades to the end-customers.
Benefit Impact On Business
Before this solution comes into the production, eSupplyLink was deploying their product on the customers’ premise and struggling hard with the overheads of the maintenance, new upgrades/releases/patches which was greatly impacting the revenues of the company. Customers also losing interest in the products of eSupplyLink due to the maintenance costs and handling the complexes infrastructure. The sale of product was declining very rapidly.
After revamping the product and migrating to cloud based infrastructure, the process of distributing the product become so seamlessly that it now takes just an 30 minutes time to setup new customer and start using the product and thus, saving the 200% of time efforts from previously. No need of on-premise infrastructure, customers just need to login the cloud account and that’s it. No overheads of maintenances, new upgrades/patches/releases, eSupplyLink just need to send a mail as an intimation that new release/version is available and if the customer is willing to update their product. The direct impact of this SaaS based solution was seen in the sales revenue of the company which was increased by 25% in first quarter.
- The business revenue increased by 25%
- No. of new clients increased by 30% based on one quarter analytics
Prime Focus Points
- Cloud Server investigations/setup/configurations from scratch. Assimilating the best cloud vendor for this application deployment by scrutinizing all the aspects of their cloud environment from SaaS based perspective.
- Multi-Tenant architecture implementation to support various organization and providing customization as per the organization needs.
- Implementing SaaS based solution and environment
- Major challenge was to keep the data of existing customers secure with no regression impacts