ISVs and Microsoft Azure: through the lens of our capability model

Independent software vendors and the public cloud is a match made in heaven. As cloud-first becomes the norm, organisations demand their software in the form of SaaS as opposed to old school shrink-wrapped artefacts – ISVs are looking to modernise and migrate their applications, infrastructure, and platform to the public cloud. At Eighty20 Solutions we partner with Microsoft and support the ISV journey to the Microsoft ecosystem through our AzInvent service offering.

Having worked with ISVs in their public cloud journeys – be it migrating from on-prem or private cloud to Azure based architectures, or setting up entirely new cloud native architectures on Azure for new ISV applications, or establishing new ISV operating models while operating in the public cloud (we call this “The Cloud Mindset”) – we have organised our thoughts and developed an ISV Public Cloud Capability Model.

The great thing about Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft cloud ecosystem is that it offers value levers to an ISV business across the dimensions of sales and growth, application development, infrastructure management and platform strategy. At a high level, we explore a few here:

Sales and growth

  • Access to partner co-sell and IP co-sell model with Microsoft gives ISVs net new sales channels and models. Microsoft Cloud also provides new distribution channels for ISV apps, such as Microsoft Teams where ISVs can embed their app.
  • The global reach of the Azure platform means you can now offer SaaS to customers anywhere while fully respecting their regulatory and compliance obligations and at low latency
  • The flexibility to define your business model focusing on value. (My colleague Andre has written a summary of a recent TechCrunch article on this.) We see a large number of ISVs moving to innovative models, such as the monthly active users measure which is a great outcome focused model, but requires a rather sophisticated metering capability built into the app.

Application development

  • Microsoft cloud offers an unparalleled range of choices helping you to ship faster and safer.
  • Delivery velocity is the currency in a SaaS world. With offerings across the DevOps continuum – source code management, CI / CD, artefact management, mobile DevOps, user feedback management, code quality analysis and improvements, seamless development environment provisioning, Kanban boards, real user monitoring, industry leading choice of IDEs, etc.
  • From an application security standpoint, the capabilities across configuration and secrets management, granular logging, integration with cloud native SIEM, secure code analysis, OWASP core rulesets differentiate Azure. This is hardly surprising as Microsoft invests more than USD 1 billion annually on cybersecurity research and development.

Infrastructure strategy

  • Infrastructure as Code and immutable infrastructure set up provide great flexibility to create new demo environments in minutes without risking existing customer data environments.
  • Environment strategy maturity can be rapidly evolved as there is no longer reliance on physical infrastructure.
  • A mind boggling choice of managed database platforms, data persistent styles, protocols, and best in class tools makes polyglot persistence a reality without requiring a host of different data engineers with niche skills on your rosters.

Platform Assurance

  • The underlying platform capabilities can underwrite cloud security posture management and advanced threat and vulnerability protection.
  • It can also offer visibility of compliance posture against regimes all around the world.
  • Combined with the infrastructure and DevOps innovations, delivering business continuity and disaster recovery does not have to be costly, but can deliver the right outcome for ISVs when things don’t go as planned (hint: Murphy’s law is real).

We have developed the ISV public cloud capability map and maturity assessment keeping the above value levers and many more in mind. They work hand in hand with the other Microsoft and industry accelerators such as DevOps maturity assessment and cloud journey tracker – which can be combined to build a tailored and actionable roadmap for your organisation.

If you are an independent software vendor and thinking about leveraging Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Cloud ecosystem reach out to us today.