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CAST

Enabling Customisation of SaaS Applications by Third Parties

Project Concept

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a new software delivery model that revolutionises the way in which software is being designed, developed and consumed. The core idea in SaaS is that applications are not installed at a user's premises, but hosted remotely, accessed over the Internet, and priced on a per-user basis.

An important feature that is lacking from today's SaaS provision platforms is the ability to sufficiently customise SaaS offerings in order to address the needs of specialised business domains. The introduction of configurability and extensibility in SaaS offerings by allowing third-party actors to integrate their own application code and create specialised service add-ons is currently a pressing requirement in the SaaS market. Conversely, the development of SaaS platforms that allow for full customisation and extensibility without compromising reliability and security is recognised as a major challenge. The SaaS platform must provide mechanisms to guarantee that ill-performing customisations by third-parties will not inflict any damage to the data of other users.

The aim of CAST (Agreement number: 07EUROSTARS-E!4373) is to develop a customisation framework consisting of a reference architecture, methodological support, and a suite of tools supporting the provision of highly customisable and reliable SaaS offerings. The solution to be developed within CAST will be integrated into a SaaS platform for Customer Relationship Management services and will be launched in the market within a two-year period following the completion of the project.

Project Results

  1. CAST SaaS Reference Architecture: A reference architecture establishing the theoretical and technological foundations for the development of SaaS platforms that allow for full customisation and extensibility without compromising reliability and security.
  2. CAST SaaS Runtime and Customisation Platform: A platform to provide the runtime infrastructure for customisable SaaS services. Applications developers will be able to use the platform to provide application services (e.g. CRM or ERP application services), system integrators will be able to customise and extend the core application services provided by the platform and create new service add-ons, whereas end users will be able to subscribe to application services and use the underlying functionality.
  3. CAST SaaS Customisation Tool Suite: A customisation tool suite consisting of a number of development and customisation tools addressing the needs of application service developers, system integrators, and potentially also experienced end users. The tools will provide a developer friendly way to interact with the customisation and configuration interface provided by the Runtime and Customisation Platform.
  4. CAST Pilot Trials: Empirical evaluation and validation of the proposed approach through trials in two pilot studies (in different geographic locations, different sectors, and different market conditions). The aim is to assess not only the research and technological development outcomes of the project, but also the broader business market context in which CAST is to be embedded.

Duration

01/03/2009 - 30/11/2011

SEERC Budget

320.000 €

Funding

Eurostars programme, EUREKA & European Commission

Partners

Participating Researchers

Related Publications

Click here to view publications related to this project

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