How Renovatix Solutions Is Redefining SaaS Go-to-Market Strategies
Adding an online marketplace to the Showplace was a natural extension to the fundamental mission of the site of helping IT/business decision-makers identify SaaS solutions to meet their corporate objectives, and giving SaaS vendors a forum to promote their capabilities.
My decision to team with Renovatix Solutions is part of my larger vision that the go-to-market strategies of SaaS companies and developers are also evolving.
While many SaaS companies have built their initial success on a variety of direct sales techniques and affiliate marketing tactics, I believe they are now poised to start leveraging an emerging channel of enterprise companies who want to use branded online marketplaces to enhance their customer relationships and providing new levels of value beyond core services.
For example, computer hardware companies have been reselling computer software online for many years. Last year, Dell entered into an agreement with Salesforce.com to become a reseller of a broader set of business applications listed on the AppExchange to provide Dell’s customers with a ‘one-stop’ shop for hardware and software solutions.
Expanding the portfolio of software products promoted by computer companies is ok, but not earth-shattering. In fact, online marketplaces have been commonplace since the idea of eCommerce emerged during the dot.com era.
However, what if non-traditional players started offering SaaS solutions to enhance their customer relationships and strengthen their competitive position within their own industries?
Renovatix Solutions is nudging the world in this direction.
A case example is the new online marketplace it has implemented for Bank of America (BoA), based on the Etelos platform suite for SaaS distribution. The MyBusiness Solutions Store is aimed at helping small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs) “succeed by providing high quality Web-based business applications from a variety of vendors — in one convenient place.”
The logic is simple. In today’s increasingly tough economic environment, financial institutions, such as BoA, need to do all they can to mitigate lending risks and provide new layers of value to their customers. So, offering SMBs a broader array of business services in the form of SaaS applications gives BoA more tools to help its customers and more reasons for them to be loyal to BoA.
By offering monthly subscriptions to these apps, BoA is helping its customers reduce their operating costs while they better manage their business. These customers also obtain consolidated access to the online apps through BoA’s branded marketplace with a single sign-on. It is likely that these apps will become a vital part of running their business and increase the likelihood that they will remain loyal to BoA, return for more products, and view BoA as a trusted business supplier. As a result, the online marketplace can give BoA an important competitive advantage.
Clearly, this is not a program built on the premise of “if you build it, they will come”. BoA is utilizing various marketing channels to promote its new online marketplace, such as statement inserts, banner ads and links at relevant SMB-oriented sites.
As the marketplace serves as a central repository to access of the SMB’s web apps, this destination becomes a key venue for messaging, marketing and means to interact with their customers, in a non-invasive fashion, regularly. The awareness campaigns are expected to have significant impact since BOA ranks in the top 50 sites ranked by US-based web visitors daily.
Renovatix Solutions is charting new territory through its network of enterprises who’ve applied the marketplace functionality to their branded environments. These companies are creating unique value propositions for their customers via their marketplace solutions. In many cases, these companies are also offering their own loyalty programs (i.e., currency) with their corporate credit cards or in-house accounts.
They are also offering a continuously expanding array of SaaS apps from companies like Google, Citrix, MS, WordPress, Sugar CRM, Box.net, and HyperOffice. The enterprises can select the SaaS apps that best suit their customers from a menu of many more.
Renovatix is also enabling the enterprises to offer other products and services, including non-SaaS based products of their own, or through their affiliates, previously linked to their branded environment.
The BoA store is just the most recent in a series of similar online marketplace deployments Renovatix Solutions is implementing for various enterprises which are yet to be publicly announced.
The adoption of these online marketplaces by major financial institutions and other enterprises lends greater credibility to the SaaS model. SMBs who may not have heard of these ‘on-demand’ solutions or were apprehensive about using them, will now be more comfortable trying them when they come from a well-known and trusted source.
This trend illustrates how the SaaS market is evolving and becoming more mainstream. It also shows how the SaaS market is sparking new channels to market, and redefining the role of the value-added reseller (VAR) and systems integrator (SI).