Preparing for SaaS
I’ve just returned from two days in a chilly Florida where I was participating in a sales kickoff meeting for an independent software vendor (ISV) that is preparing to add a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) component to its portfolio.
I’ve presented to plenty of sales teams about SaaS, cloud computing and managed services, what made this session unique was that this ISV isn’t planning on rolling out its new SaaS solutions for another 9-10 months.
To the credit of the company’s management team, they know that it will take a long time to fully prepare the sales team to properly sell their new SaaS solutions.
Especially, because they’ve been successfully selling the value of their legacy, on-premise applications against a competitor’s “ASP” solution for the past five years.
While the company was confident that it has employed the latest in Web 2.0 technologies and techniques to … Read More »
The Changing Role of Professional Services in an On-Demand World
I had the privilege of moderating a fascinating panel session at the SIIA On-Demand Conference this past November entitled, “Systems Integrators: A Firsthand, Face-to-Face View on the State of SaaS”.
The panel consisted of three experienced professionals in the systems integration (SI) business,
Chris Barbin, CEO, Appirio
Cary Fulbright, President, North America Operations, Saaspoint
Lonnie Wills, Senior Vice President, CIO Practice, Bluewolf
The SIIA recently posted a video of this session on their site. Click here to watch the discussion.
THINKstrategies Launches Best of SaaS Showplace Awards
THINKstrategies launched a new awards program today aimed at showing how Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), cloud computing and other on-demand services are helping organizations of all sizes across every industry grapple with the operational challenges created by today’s unprecedented economic crisis.
The new Best of SaaS Showplace (BoSS) Awards are aimed at promoting the tangible benefits which web-based services can deliver.
The awards will be given to SaaS and cloud computing companies listed on the SaaS Showplace which can demonstrate that their on-demand solutions have produced measurable business benefits for specific user organizations. These benefits could be increased sales, lower costs, higher customer satisfaction, faster operations, etc.
Click here for more details regarding the nomination process, criteria for selection, fees and award program benefits.
Will the Rising Cost of Sales Cost SaaS Companies VC Funding?
My friend Phil Wainwright’s latest blog post re: LucidEra’s new pre-sales program, Pipeline Healthcheck, confirms many of my initial observations when the company first introduced the program in October. Phil’s post includes a number of interesting stats which LucidEra’s founder, Ken Rudin, also shared with me at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce event.
LucidEra’s decision to move away from the typical free-trial approach to selling SaaS is significant because it exemplifies a subtle trend which is brewing in the on-demand services market.
Although many SaaS solutions can be sold using a ‘try and buy’ technique, a growing number of SaaS vendors are discovering that they must employ other sales tactics to sell their solutions. In some cases, like the LucidEra example, it is because they are trying to demonstrate the power of their functionality to a target buyer who is unfamilar with the basic idea. … Read More »
Will Acquisitions Accelerate in the SaaS and Cloud Computing Industry?
Given the proliferation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing players over the past year in response to the rapid rise of customer interest and demand, it was easy to predict that a shake out in the on-demand services market was inevitable. The question is whether today’s turbulent economic environment will accelerate this shake out process and kickstart a series of mergers and acquisitions heading into 2009.
One school of thought is that many of the weaker players in the on-demand services market are not mature enough to attract buyers and, therefore, the volume of acquisitions will not be any greater than normal.
Compounding this situation is the fact that many potential acquirers are facing their own financial challenges and lack the currency to take advantage of a “buyer’s market” and make acquisitions.
I’m not an expert in the art and science of M&As, … Read More »
Securing and Managing SaaS Apps
One of the primary concerns of IT and business decision-makers regarding Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications is security.
Although most SaaS vendors have been able to demonstrate that their cloud-based applications are secure from an operational point-of-view, there are still access control issues which enterprises need to address to ensure their corporate data is fully secure from an end-user perspective.
It is becoming particularly important to address these issues because SaaS applications are gaining popularity in today’s increasingly challenging economic climate.
The economy is also producing a new round of layoffs which means businesses need to be especially vigilant about how they manage user access to their SaaS applications to be sure laid off employees do not inadvertently or intentionally compromise sensitive or proprietary corporate data.
I’ve had the privilege of participating in two recent webcasts regarding these issues hosted by OutProtect and Symplified. These companies, … Read More »
The Three Es That Will Drive On-Demand Services
The financial crisis which came to a head last week may only be the latest chapter of an ongoing saga, but it is certainly going to be another driver that will push the on-demand services movement to a new level of market acceptance and growth.
In December 2007, I predicted that the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market would not only survive a deepening recession but would grow because of it.
My prediction was based on the premise that financial uncertainty would compel organizations of all sizes to adopt procurement policies which would favor the more flexible pricing model and more rapid deployment capabilities of SaaS, rather than continue to make significant capital investments in traditional on-premise software and systems with long deployment cycles and limited odds for success.
Ten months later and the economic climate has only gotten worse. Spiralling gas prices have compounded the … Read More »
The Maturation Process of SaaS Support
The proliferation of on-demand services has been driven by the promise that these Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and ‘cloud computing’ alternatives to traditional on-premise software products will be faster to deploy, easier to use and quicker to produce tangible value.
While this is generally true, it doesn’t mean that these web-based applications are entirely fool-proof or without their challenges. Sometimes there are technical nuances which have to be overcome. Other times there are integration, customization or optimization issues which have to be addressed. And like any application, sometimes on-demand solutions encounter service disruptions which need to be resolved.
Until recently, SaaS support services were taken for granted. Many SaaS vendors bundled support services into the price of their SaaS solutions, and offered ad hoc support to quickly respond to specific questions or problems. Much of this support was delivered via online services or email, … Read More »
THINKstrategies Launches New Market Leaders Webcast Series
THINKstrategies is pleased to announce the launch of its new “Market Leaders” webcast series which showcases companies who are delivering innovative, on-demand solutions to meet the rapidly changing needs of large-scale enterprises, as well as small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs).
Our webcasts differ from the traditional, structured webinar format by combining the candid, unscripted, conversational qualities of podcasts with the visual benefits of online presentations.As the producer and host of the Market Leaders webcast series, my goal is to provide a more interesting and engaging discussion with senior executives of companies who are in the forefront of the on-demand market. The webcasts will be pre-recorded, archived and 20-30 minutes in length so you can view them whenever fits your busy schedule.
In our first webcast, we examine how the rapid growth of the on-demand market has created new operating challenges for entrepreneurs … Read More »
SaaS Billing Systems Take Center Stage
Maybe a measure of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement’s success is the growing attention billing systems are now getting from a variety of sources.
Last week, Jamcracker unveiled its new WebStores which will provide front- and back-end service delivery infrastructure, billing and settlement, customer administration and support services for traditional channel companies who want to add on-demand applications to their existing software, hardware and service portfolios.
Today, OpSource announced that it has acquired privately-held and Dublin-based LeCayla Technologies, a provider of billing and customer on-boarding software for SaaS and Web-based applications, to strengthen OpSource’s Web application delivery platform. (Click here to read THINKstrategies’ 2006 profile of LeCayla, or listen to my 2007 podcast with LeCayla’s CEO, Conor Halpin.)
These are just the latest moves by a widening array of players who are offering storefront solutions to make it easier for SaaS vendors to sell … Read More »