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Democratizing SaaS!

How Corent’s SurPaaS is disrupting the Software Industry by Democratizing Software as a Service

Feyzi Fatehi

CEO & Chairman

Corent Technology


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor

CEOCFO Magazine

Published – January 11, 2021

CEOCFO: Mr. Fatehi, what is the focus for Corent Technology, today?

Mr. Fatehi: The focus for Corent today is to democratize SaaS, also known as Software as a Service, to make it easy for any software provider to start delivering their Software “as a Service” efficiently without a single line of additional code, within days, something that otherwise may take years of architecture, design and development effort.  

CEOCFO: Is that possible?

Mr. Fatehi: With Corent’s SurPaaS® platform, Yes! That is the magic, that is where over one hundred patent claims have been granted to Corent for its technology that for the last several years we have been developing. They are inventions, patented intellectual property of how to transform practically any existing B2B enterprise software into Software as a Service similar to, in a matter of hours to days, without any programming.   

CEOCFO: What were some of the challenges in getting to this point? Where were the biggest stumbling blocks?  

Mr. Fatehi: There were technological stumbling blocks; there were social blocks as well as psychological blocks. The biggest technological block was inventing a technology that would transform a single tenant software into a multi-tenant software without a single line of programming. That was the biggest technological breakthrough invention and out of one hundred plus granted patent claims we have secured, over fifty of them belong to making plug-in multi-tenancy happen. The rest was to build the “as a service” capabilities that are required for transforming a software application into a fully instrumented Software as a Service solution. In other words, all the added “as a service” capabilities of any software built in a generic way that can be configured and customized for any specific software application without any programming.

Transforming a traditional enterprise software application, like SAP, like Oracle applications into something like in a multi-tenant way, with all of the instrumentation, the scalability and efficiencies that a true scalable Software as a Service offering needs, in a matter of hours, or few days, unlike some of the industry players which spend years and tens of millions of dollars to create such a solution. Here are two similar examples. One is the invention of the Intel processor and the concept of “Intel Inside.” Instead of every PC manufacturer inventing and manufacturing their own CPU (central processing unit,) the computing brain for the computer, Intel did it once and gave it to everyone, like to Michael Dell (that I happen to overlap going to school with at UT Austin in the 1980s.) If Dell Corporation did not have access to the Intel processor they would probably still be designing and manufacturing the processor verses proliferating their PCs around the world. Building that engine by Intel, is one example. That is why some call Corent’s platform the “Intel Inside” for the software industry. The other example is Netflix. Imagine every movie producer had to build a Netflix type of distribution mechanism for their own movie, as opposed to Netflix having built their digital distribution streaming technology once and every movie that is made can just go through Netflix as the distribution arm of the movie industry, in other words, “movies as a service.” So the same way that Netflix is the “as a service” arm for the movie industry, Corent could be regarded as the “as a service” arm for the software industry. That was challenge number one: building the technology that would make it happen

Challenge number two was that people were not thinking about it this way. People were thinking that because they are software engineers, because they are chief technology officers, because they have a team of programmers, they have to build it themselves. Such as, before databases were invented, programmers were creating their own “data structures” and all of a sudden Oracle was there or MySQL was there, so now you do not bother designing and developing your own data structures; you simply use Oracle. Now we are saying to software vendors, “Do not bother building your own “as a service” capabilities; just plug into Corent’s and go to market. That was number two. They want to build it themselves, but they were not thinking about that there could be a solution, because they were telling me, “What have you been smoking, it is not possible.” They were thinking within the realm of possibilities rather than getting out of their comfortable zone of thinking. Element number three was the safety security of their data. Thanks to as a pioneer in the SaaS industry, and as the gold standard, that psychological barrier was broken. The California Business Journal last year, had a cover story article about SaaS with this subtitle: “While legitimized SaaS, Corent is now democratizing SaaS.” Therefore, they helped legitimize your data residing with the SaaS provider and that psychological barrier, with the success of, SuccessFactors, Workday and so on was diminished, and helped us pave the way for Corent to start democratizing SaaS.      

CEOCFO: Are people ready for it?

Mr. Fatehi: People not only are ready for it but are longing for it! The whole industry is moving towards SaaS because people do not want to buy stuff that from day one start becoming obsolete. They just want to use it and pay for it and every time they login they have access to the latest and the greatest, rather than upgrading the software, upgrading the database, maintaining the middleware; it is just an unbelievable movement and improvement in productivity, that we do not have to waste so much time on non-productive activities.   

CEOCFO: How do you help potential customers recognize they need Corent and also get over the trepidation of making a big change?

Mr. Fatehi: Change generally happens for one of the two reasons. One is inspiration and the other one is desperation. The initial people who moved to SaaS such as to were people who were inspired to move to SaaS because they saw the benefits of the model, much more efficient, much more cost effective, and much more modern. People who are lagging, are getting into situations that if they don’t move to SaaS they will go out of business. Those are the people who are moving out of desperation because they have to do it. The cloud is an infrastructure as a service, but cloud is essentially computing, storage and networking delivered “as a service.” What IBM used to sell, what EMC used to sell, what CISCO used to sell combined are being delivered by AWS, by Microsoft Azure, and such … as a service. That is what is being referred to as “the cloud.”

However, no one consumes the cloud. People consume the software that run on the cloud and Corent is here to offer the same benefits that the cloud provides to the IT infrastructure industry, to the software industry. Corent enables every software to be delivered as a service, rapidly and without arduous programing. Ultimately, people do not watch the TV; people watch the movie “on” TV. Similarly, people don’t want to just subscribe to the cloud, people want to use their software on the cloud and in that sense Corent is literally opening up the next chapter of the cloud industry. The first chapter was about infrastructure as a service, and was led by Vmware, similarly, the second chapter led by Corent, is about Software as a Service, democratizing Software as a Service so that every single software vendor doesn’t have to go through what and Workday and SuccessFactors went through, tens of millions of dollars and multiple years of custom development. I heard that spent one hundred twenty-three million dollars on the development of their “as a service” capabilities alone and spent years on its development.

It is like every movie producer trying to build their own Netflix. We said enough is enough. Let is go to market for the sake of humanity, delivering the educational system, healthcare system, telemedicine. Democratize the use of those software that have been defined and developed but are still not SaaSified. Let’s liberate them! and give users access to them. Some people call Corent “Operation Liberation.” We are liberating a generation of software to be delivered to their target customers, those who need them and help improve their business, their lives, because of that software.        

CEOCFO: How are you able to provide this so easily? How much customization might be needed for a particular client or is the beauty of it that there is very little?  

Mr. Fatehi: That is a great question. Let me address it in two ways. First imagine, Michael Dell using an Intel processor as a key component of building his initial PCs. You say, “Michael, how do you take an Intel CPU, and add the storage and the keyboard and the screen and the battery, and voila, you have a working PC! How do you do it so easily?” That is mainly because the Intel processor, the CPU or Central Processing Unit was developed in a turnkey, and configurable fashion. Years went into its development in circuit boards and now it can be easily incorporated in a computer in a way that is not intrusive. Very much the same way with Corent but on the software side of the equation.  

By the way, we “borrowed” the name Corent from Intel Inside concept. Corent stand for Core Enterprise, the same way that Intel became the computing engine for PCs and was a reason for plug and play operation of the PCs in addition to Microsoft Windows (Hence the coining of “Wintel,”) Corent is the core of the modern enterprise software. The same way that the Intel processor is part of taking the heavy lifting out of building a PC, Corent is doing the heavy lifting for developing a Software as a Service, because all of the “as a service” capabilities have already been built in a configurable, customizable, flexible way. That was the key concept of building it as opposed to the leading SaaS companies that built their “as a service” capability just for their own software. That is because their view was, “If our company is successful, then we are successful.” They built it for enabling their own software application as SaaS, the same way that HP and IBM have built their own computer processors in the past for their computers, not for giving it away to other computer manufacturers. However, Intel did not want to build computers. Intel just wanted to build that one critical piece of each computer really well. Corent said we just build the as a service capability. We do not want to become a CRM vendor or an ERP vendor or something else. We want to enable everyone else to go to market as a service and that was the reason why it can be configured, it can be customized, because it was, by design built that way.     

CEOCFO: Who is turning to you for services? What types of companies, industries or geographies?

Mr. Fatehi: There are basically three categories of software vendors. One category is the ones that are not on the cloud, or if they are on the cloud, they are not SaaS the second category are software vendors who are already SaaS or somehow were SaaS-enabled. (By the way, this is a term we came up with; SaaS enablement or SaaSification of software, since till then everyone assumed that they had to build the “as a Service” capability into their product, hence no room for the concept of taking a software that is not written to act like SaaS and make it so, without any re-architecting or programing.) The second category say, “We are already SaaS” or “We built it on the cloud to begin with and build all the SaaS capabilities into it.” The third category is the big ones, like and Workday and SuccessFactors and so on. The ones like the’s of the world, we consider highly successful and we do not consider them our clients unless they decide to do so for some of their new products or acquisitions.  

The first category are those who are not SaaS; they can easily plug into Corent and become SaaS overnight or in a matter of two or three days, all configuration and no programming. The second category are people who claim they are SaaS or they are truly SaaS. They are selling SaaS subscriptions. They may significantly benefit from plugging into Corent because they may be multi-tenant, but they may not have the operations excellence. They may not have the billing excellence. They may not have the subscription flexibility excellence. They may not have the metering. They may not have the monitoring. They may not be able to charge based on usage. They may not have the securities needed. They may not have the performance metrics they need. They may not be containerized. I can go on and on n and by plugging into Corent they do not have to develop any of that. Within a matter of hours to days, they can configure all of those capabilities and modernize their existing SaaS or add a turbo charger engine to their existing SaaS. In my opinion about ninety-five, percent of the software companies that they present themselves as SaaS; they can immediately benefit from plugging into Corent, one way or another. We call the capability xSaaS for extended SaaS.      

CEOCFO: When you are speaking to the right person at a company, do they understand immediately? Is there a eureka moment when they get what you are saying?  

Mr. Fatehi: It depends on if they have an ownership mindset, they get it immediately. If they are a bureaucrat, they may not get it immediately. Those with ownership mindset would say, “Hey, I would love to become a SaaS provider, I would love to turn our software application into an offering like overnight! There is no risk or obligation; here is access to an instance of my application running somewhere. In a day or few days, show me my software as fully instrumented SaaS. Just do it!” The bureaucrats start asking sixteen questions, “How do you do this?” Maybe they are intellectually curious, and have one meeting, two meetings, three meetings, five meetings and then they just disappear. And then you see them moving to another company!

I had lunch with a software company CEO two years ago and I told him exactly that using our platform SurPaaS we can SaaS-enable his software application in a matter of days. He told me, “Feyzi, we have hired a world class management team and VP of engineering and so on. We will do it ourselves. Then two years passes, and he calls me and says, “Feyzi, I spent over two million dollars and I just let go of the entire team. Can you help us SaaS enable our software?” For us, in most cases, it takes one or few days. He could have done it two years ago without any risk, because he could have said, “I do not like this, I just go and develop it internally. But over two million dollars and two years later, coming back to Corent. Therefore, I think it is more a psychological or decision making framework and style.

In contrast, let’s take a look at a customer called Mifos, Micro-Finance Opensource; it is a core banking solution. There were built with the help of IBM and VMware to create a free core banking solution for the two plus billion people in the world who do not have access to core banking and that is one of the main reasons for extreme poverty, besides not having access to healthcare. This product was built by the help of IBM and VMware and then they got the support of Hewlett Packard, Dell, Google, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Cisco; all of these big tech companies helped this great cause of eradication of extreme poverty buy providing the free software to their banks and credit unions in the under developed countries, except that the software did not take off for twelve years mainly because it was not SaaS and they tried to make it SaaS; with twelve years access to some of the best companies in the world. Then they came to us last year and “boom!” The software is now SaaS and they have started making great progress around the world, spreading this phenomenal servicel that could be a massive tool in helping under-developed regions, countries, towns and spread the joy and the privilege of having access to credit, which is doing banking, establishing credit so that you can borrow money and help your business or livelihood. Microsoft and Corent just made an announcement a couple of months ago, as a Tech Alliance between Microsoft, Corent and Mifos addressing this massive economic issue in the developing countries, and it is a technology driven social change. I am just giving you one example out of thousands of software products that could benefit the same way.        

CEOCFO: How have you dealt with the frustration over the years of knowing what you developed, what you can do, but it has taken so long to get people to recognize the value of Corent?

Mr. Fatehi: Simply put, by keeping our eyes on the prize. By keeping our focus on our vision of democratizing SaaS. I was campus recruited by HP Cupertino that is today the site of Apple’s iconic new headquarters, and worked for HP for fourteen years, so the “HP Way” is in my DNA. One of the 10 principles of the HP Way was innovation. It was everyone’s job to think innovatively, in the same line as profit, customer satisfaction and other pillars of HP’s strong corporate culture. I was privileged to be a part of the 5-member team that invented the first Real-Time Database. We broke some rules and created some new ones. We certainly were thinking and operating outside the box, if not outside the park!

Imagine the world without innovation. I love the one-minute commercial narrated by Steve Jobs that Apple released in 1997. The video is called, “The crazy ones!” and it goes like this: “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.  That sentiment is alive and kicking at Corent every single day. That vision and that entrepreneurial attitude energizes us and keeps us going - and that is how we deal with our occasional frustrations.

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“The same way that Netflix became the “as a service” arm for the movie industry, Corent could be regarded as the “as a service” arm for the software industry.” Feyzi Fatehi