On-Demand Services Face Escalating Challenges In Today's Economic Crisis
Today’s deepening economic crisis is testing the mettle of IT/business decision-makers, IT solution providers and technology investors alike.
IT and business decision-makers in nearly every industry must make cuts to their capital and operating budgets in order to offset rapid declines in business and tightening credit markets. In many cases, this is forcing them to fundamentally reevaluate the way that they acquire and utilize technology and business applications, and leading them to seriously consider various on-demand service alternatives such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), cloud computing, and managed services.
I have recently suggested in commentaries in Datamation and the Business Technology Roundtable that any IT/business decision-maker who isn’t seriously considering these on-demand alternatives is doing their organization a disservice and could be jeopardizing their jobs.
THINKstrategies’ latest customer survey in conjunction with Cutter Consortium clearly shows that organizations of all sizes are adopting SaaS solutions … Read More »
Extending the Value of Hosting Services
I had the privilege of being a columnist for the Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) for nearly three years from its inception in 2004 to mid-2007. (Click here to read these columns.) During that time only a handful of hosting companies saw the potential of the rapidly evolving Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
The majority of those hosting companies who saw the SaaS market opportunity primarily focused on pushing their managed services and co-location capabilities. OpSource was the first to recognize a broader set of business opportunities and became a thought-leader in the industry offering a wider array of services, augmented by set of third-party technologies.
Other hosting companies may have been generating greater revenues from independent software vendors (ISVs), but didn’t pursue the broader array of business opportunities associated with SaaS. As a result, OpSource won the lion share of industry attention and ‘mindshare’.
Now … Read More »
OpSource SaaS Summit Takeaways
Last week’s OpSource SaaS Summit was a milestone event for the on-demand services market on a number of levels.
The first SaaS Summit in Silverado in 2006 was a gathering of industry pioneers to discuss the potential of the on-demand movement. Last year’s Summit in Monterey was an opportunity to celebrate the growing success of the SaaS movement. This year’s Summit offered a chance to take stock of what it will take to scale SaaS to meet the needs of the mainstream market. The theme was platforms and web services, but the event also raised other issues.
With over 600 registered attendees, this year’s SaaS Summit was the largest vendor-oriented conference focused entirely on the rapidly growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market to date. While Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce user conference is still the biggest SaaS event of all, OpSource’s SaaS Summit has represented the benchmark … 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 »
The Sales and Support Ramifications of On-Demand Services
I had the privilege this week of participating in an interesting webinar sponsored by Makana Solutions regarding the sales implications of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and other subscription services.
Tom Wilson, of the Wilson Group; Makana’s founder, chairman, and CEO Liz Cobb; and I discussed how the sales skills and processes differ in the on-demand services world from the traditional packaged product environment. Specifically, on-demand services come at a lower price-point which necessitates higher volume sales to be successful. This requires a transaction oriented sales process and telesales skills, rather than the long salescycles and highly personalized approach of traditional legacy software sales. Therefore, restructuring the sales process and retraining or restaffing the sales team is critical to transitioning to the SaaS and subscription service model.
Similarly, the support function also changes in the on-demand world. Rather than rely on technical support to react … Read More »
Microsoft Rolls Out New SaaS Incubator Program Aimed At Building Channel Opportunities
Microsoft today unveiled a new SaaS Incubation Center Program to help independent software vendors (ISVs) adopt the Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model. Microsoft’s new program will provide ISVs with business and technical consulting services, a hosting channel to market, and incentive discounts to Microsoft’s enabling technology.
Not long ago, the incubator idea seemed to be a distant memory associated with the demise of the dot.com era. But, with the advent of a new surge of Web 2.0 opportunities, the incubator concept has also been reborn.
Microsoft isn’t the first to launch an incubation program in the SaaS space. OpSource, Salesforce.com, and others have created their own programs. What sets Microsoft’s program apart from the others is how it is attempting to link ISVs with hosting companies as a channel to market.
For the ISVs, this will give them a wider assortment … Read More »
OpSource Unveils New Round of SaaS Enablement Capabilities
While Salesforce.com and its Founder/CEO/Chairman, Mark Benioff, get most of the attention and credit for setting the standard for the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement, OpSource and its Founder/CEO, Treb Ryan, have done more than their share to evangelize the business benefits of SaaS and educate the software industry about the steps to success in this market.
Treb saw the opportunity to differentiate OpSource from the floundering hosting business by focusing on a nascent SaaS marketplace early. The company asserted itself as the “SaaS Experts” by establishing a professional services arm which helped aspiring on-demand companies understand the business of SaaS. It also initiated an aggressive marketing campaign in 2005-2006 which included an incubation program, countless webinars and the SaaS industry’s first conference, the SaaS Summit.
The company used the occasion of its second annual SaaS Summit in Monterey, CA, this week to unveil … Read More »