Posted tagged ‘cloud’

The ABC’s of Enterprise SaaS

January 9, 2013

Originally posted on VentureBeat: http://bitly.com/10fZIrz

By now, it is abundantly clear that the old world of enterprise software is changing materially. The problem is well known by all who have spent any time in corporate IT: enterprise software has become too complex to deploy and use.

As we move into delivering software-as-a-service, several fundamental assumptions made with enterprise software are no longer valid. An entirely new set of assumptions must be followed to achieve success. Below are three cardinal rules of SaaS. I like to call them the “ABC”s.

Adoption

SaaS changes the business model for technology providers as the the customer gets to pay by the drip. If you don’t use services, don’t pay for them. If there isn’t adoption, the technology provider won’t make a profit. The sooner that IT departments and technology providers accept this reality about SaaS, the sooner the users start to benefit.

The first step of adoption is activating the user base and enabling them to use the service, which should be just as easy for enterprise software as it is with consumer services like Facebook.

The second step is engagement. It is in the vendor and the customer’s mutual interest to drive user-engagement to garner sustained value from the service purchased. Therefore, incentives must be in the DNA of the service to ensure they stay engaged.

Next comes penetration to a broad user base, where network effects are a critical contributor of success and more value or productivity is driven from the usage of the service, followed by sustained usage, which is how providers make money.

If and only if the first four occur will the vendor have earned the right to a reference, which creates more energy in the project, and a new wave of users who want to try it.

Behavioral Analysis

The second essential ingredient of a successful SaaS implementation is continuous monitoring and behavioral analysis on how the service gets used. SaaS behavioral usage instrumentation and analysis will be one of the most talked about Big Data applications in the next three to five years.

Enterprise software is ridden with complexity. Complexity deters adoption. And as we just discussed, lack of adoption is lack of success in SaaS for both the buyer and seller.

While this concept is intuitive, few software outfits have a way of knowing quantitatively whether the millions they spent on building features are actually getting utilized. When it comes to SaaS, success is predicated on the technology being consumable.

Return on investment for a feature is only meaningful when the feature is used, not when it is made available. This is why behavioral analysis of usage patterns is extremely important. De-featuring is as important an exercise as building features in the SaaS world. Simplicity must trump functionality.

Customer Success

The third and most important aspect of ensuring success in SaaS is that neither the technology provider nor IT win if the user doesn’t win.

In any successful SaaS company, one of the most important roles that should work directly for the CEO is the “Customer Success Officer”. Luckily, the SaaS business model is built in such a way that the technology provider only succeeds when the customer is satisfied. Start with small pilots, show user value, expand user base, and repeat. The customer succeeds when there is sustained user engagement.

Day one of a software sale in the SaaS world is no longer a profitable venture for the vendor. Rather, when customers get broad usage and continue to derive value by the use of the service, profitability kicks in for the technology provider.

Don’t doubt it, the world of software will be completely transformed with SaaS.  To survive, remember these simple guidelines.

3 Critical Areas to be an Enterprise Worthy Software Company

April 19, 2012

Megatrends like Social, Big Data, Cloud and mobile are driving fundamental shifts in the business in this Post PC era.  One of those shifts is around the consumerization of IT where the user is in control of the devices and the applications they use to be more productive.  User experience is of paramount importance and the message is clear.  Users will not put up with complex user interfaces and find alternatives to enhance productivity by self-provisioning apps in the cloud.  As I’ve said before, a software company cannot be successful unless they minimize friction in the user experience.  The user gene must be developed in every software organization.

However, IT still remains a critical constituency within an organization.  Many that started from the consumer side of the house like Google have had some hiccups in catering to the CIO.  Three key areas must be evaluated closely when a software vendor claims to serve the enterprise.  They are around how a software company provides support for the enterprise, how a software company builds products for the user, but keeping in mind enterprise requirements, and how a software company enables an ecosystem of services, education and training for an enterprise.  What I thought would be valuable is for some of the leaders in EMC to discuss how they think of these very serious enterprise needs.  I’ve asked Mike Montoya, our head of support, Rohit Ghai, our head of products, and John O’Melia, our head of services to impart some wisdom on each of these areas on what it takes to effectively serve an enterprise while still ensuring that the user is who the software is designed for.

Hope you enjoy the 3 blogs that each of these very talented individuals have been kind enough to contribute to my blog.

Our Commitment to Innovation

January 23, 2012

What’s great about the culture we have at EMC, is that it’s driven by one simple imperative when it comes to our customers and trusted partners – to ensure you’re given all the information and insight you need to make successful mission critical business decisions. We hope that our competitors follow the same train of thought. However, in recent weeks, we’ve discovered that this is clearly not the case with Oracle. Some false information has been put out there in an attempt to disrupt one of the most stable, valuable and trusted assets that our customers have, Documentum. Normally, I don’t respond to sales and marketing theatrics because competition is a good thing. However in this case, I feel compelled to respond, so you can assess

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The Post PC-Era

May 11, 2011

Yesterday, May 10, I gave a keynote presentation at Momentum at EMC World in Vegas, and shortly after I began to reflect on the past several months which have been a whirlwind.

As most of you know, I joined EMC’s Information Intelligence Group last July after having co-run Doculabs for close to 17 years.  Not knowing how it would feel to move from a “think-tank outfit” to a major enterprise vendor, and my strong obsession for not wanting to make my blog a commercial for a company’s products, I decided to take some time to reflect and hold off on writing blogs. But now I’m back, in a big way. And what a great period for reflection it has been!!

This is a great time to be alive in the high-tech sector.  We are undergoing a major market transition in technology that only occurs once every 10 to 15 years.    So here are my thoughts on how fundamentally (more…)


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