It is the age of cloud computing and SaaS products. SaaS or Software-As-A-Service products are delivered to you over the internet. You do not have to maintain or install the hardware or software. You get the product on your computers, tablets and phones, simply via internet. It is truly easy to access.
Today SaaS products are an indispensable part of our lives. How did this change happen? How did these companies succeed in embedding their products into our lives? What are the things they got right? Can we learn anything from their journeys? Let’s find out.
1) Ease Pain Points
Shopify came into existence when its CEO Tobias Lutke as a small business owner was experiencing difficulties. He wanted to set up a small eCommerce website and the whole process of setting it up seemed just too complicated. He wanted a solution which could set up his eCommerce website in minutes. It needed to look neat and pleasing. He wanted the website owners to be able to manage products, pricing, taxes and shipping easily. The payments gateways needed to be there and working without hassle. Lutke addressed all the pain points through Shopify. He ditched the old website development methods and built his product on a new programming language called Ruby on Rails. This ensured that the users could use Shopify easily even if they had no idea about coding or programming. With the help of Shopify small businesses can now have their website up and running quickly at a fraction of a cost.
2) Organize in Real-time
Our lives have become faster. We are always on the go. We are now in the hyper connected world and our need to stay on the top of things as they happen – in real time –is great and businesses being global, the local business hours have little significance. Slack was the answer to a lot of problems that were created due to missed notifications and delayed communication. Slack brought all the communication from different medias at one place. It organized our connected life. Today it is the central tool of business for most of us. It has replaced email, instant messaging, chat etc. Slack integrates easily and seamlessly with other tools like Dropbox, twitter, Mailchimp, Google drive so that you are able to view all the messages directed to you through its interface. It pulls all the information from different tools into Slack. Now, you just need to depend on one tool and there is no dread of missing any message as Slack lines up everything neatly for you in a very organized way-in real time.
3) Research Your Product Space As Well As Sales Space Thoroughly
Most of us know Marketo well. It is a marketing automation software, a SaaS product which helps you increase your operational efficiency. Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate and measure marketing tasks and workflows. Phil Fernandez, the Co-Founder of Marketo was a product and enterprise sales person. He tried to hear what his prospective customers were saying. He spent six months researching the budget, pain points and needs. He prepared a set of questions to figure out how much were the people willing to shell out to buy the product to ease their pain points. He soon spotted an opportunity to tap into a budget pull that hadn’t been tapped and Marketo came into existence. Talking about the genesis Phil says, “You need to have a foot in both the product and sales world. Ask: Where’s budget? Where’s pain in the marketing space? Build a great product around that!”
4) Bring The Elite Power Into The Hands Of Average Professional
Generated data has typically always been in the hands of select few data snobs. They tinkered with it and provided us , the mortals – details of the analysis on “need-to-know-basis”. Tableau saw the opportunity in Data Analysis space and it brought the power of data analysis into the hands of every decision maker. With the help of Tableau he could now get analytics at the speed of thought and deployment of the software too at the speed of thought. There was no need to manage any server or software. There was no need any more to provision any hardware. No experts were needed to configure the software either. Tableau values security and privacy of its client’s data. Tableau streamlines the data. It provides its users a central place to manage data and metadata and use it to make better decisions. They can share the dashboard with other users. Tableau ensured data was more useful and could be presented in ways that it was more graspable. You can always find an opportunity when you bring a useful elitist tool to your average customer at a reasonable price.
5) Get the Clearer Picture – Use Tons of Metrics
One way to see things clearly in business is by measuring the processes with tons of metrics. SuccessFactor’s Ex CEO Lars Dalgaard (The company has been acquired by SAP in 2011) learnt to use metrics to manage business in his first stint at Novartis. It was in his next stint with Unilever at Denmark that he realised he needed to streamline HR processes and he used Lotus Notes to do that then. He says in a post from year 2008, “… so I built this product where we aligned people and gained clarity about who does what, how they report, what they are supposed to be doing, what is expected of them, how they can get rewarded, what type of career you can have, and what started there was a foundation for the product we have built today which is the biggest on-demand product in the world with three million users.” He built on the idea and was ready with the SaaS product. SuccessFactors provides 360 degrees HR reporting, succession planning, interactive organisational chart where you can flag the employees who are at the risk of leaving and the ones who want to be promoted. You can determine which people go on which seats on the bus and a lot more.
SAP SuccessFactors today is the leader in cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) software for talent management, core HR, and HR analytics and yes, it deals with a lot of data.
6) Customize, and Then Customize Some More
There was a need to streamline inventory management. There was too much noise and confusion amidst different tools, platforms, services and options in inventory and order management space. Clients needed customized solutions that consisted of systems and platforms. Orderhive filled that space. Orderhive is a cloud-based inventory, order and shipping management software. You can customize functionality and workflows with Orderhive. Orderhive teams help you with customizations and integrations at all levels for your multichannel business. With Orderhive’s inventory management system you get 150+ integrations which include e-commerce platforms, marketplaces, shipping providers, different accounting and payment systems and more. Provide the confused customers and enterprises your expertise, right solution and undivided attention, they will love your product.
Cloud based SaaS products – the ‘On demand software’ as it is colloquially called is now a common delivery model for many applications. There are several successful products which are redefining their respective spaces. Global cloud IT market revenue is predicted to increase from $180 B in 2015 to $390 B in 2020, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17%. In the same period IaaS/PaaS is predicted to grow at a 27% CAGR and SaaS based apps are predicted to grow at an 18% CAGR. These are happy times for cloud based applications as users are more open to adoption and experimentation. Their concerns about safety and security of their data and applications have been assuaged to a great extent by top notch services provided by cloud giants. If you are still on the plank, wondering if you should scale up with the help of clouds, don’t hesitate. Jump in. We can help.
That will be all from my end for now. Until next time. Adios.