I recently published a blog post about the benefits of using subscription-based business models called "What bike rental and the future of software have in common." Many industries are going through a shift of revenue streams from traditional one-time sales to products being provided “as a service” and paid via subscriptions. In the software industry this is referred to as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS. However, there is much more to this than just switching from a perpetual license model to a subscription model.
The “false cloud”
Back in 2010, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff warned attendees at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco to beware of what they called ‘false clouds.’ Benioff said “Companies hosting private cloud architectures do not benefit from economies of scale that ‘real’ cloud offers.” Back then, Salesforce.com's 77,000 customers were running on 3,000 servers spread over three global data centers. Theoretically, 77,000 companies of varying sizes would require at least 100,000 servers to independently run their CRM platforms on-premises or in a hosted solution. This translates to an equivalent output at only 3 percent of the infrastructure needed because of economies of scale and more efficient hardware utilization.
Many software companies are touting that they can deliver their software in the SaaS delivery model. However, what they are offering is often not a modern multi-tenant cloud solution where all customers are running the same software using shared resources and receiving software updates continuously without costly upgrade projects. In addition, these are not true SaaS offerings, where business users can configure functionality that would otherwise require expensive and time-consuming development using conventional single tenant software. These ‘false cloud’ solutions are often marketed as a ‘Private SaaS’ or a SIP (Secure Isolation Platform), but, in reality, are often just another way of selling an on-premise software package as a hosted solution.
SaaS is much more than cost savings
The biggest drawback with the false cloud is not that the customers are missing out on the economies of scale by not sharing resources, but that they will not have a speedy deployment, a future-proof and configurable solution, and the business agility that comes with a modern SaaS platform. 75% of enterprise software decisionmakers surveyed by Forrester rated ‘business agility’ as the top benefit of a SaaS platform, while another 72% rated ‘speed of deployment’ as a key benefit. Saving money, getting better uptime, and higher security are, of course, still relevant arguments for SaaS, but being agile and fast is of even greater importance. This is especially true for software that supports the rapidly changing processes in sales and marketing that can really reap the benefits of the SaaS model.
Software-as-a-Service is not just your software running on someone else's server. It is much bigger than that and should be an important factor when you choose your software vendors going forward.
Johan Boström, Co-founder and Evangelist, inRiver
This is part II in our story of the new landscape and reality for you as marketers. In this part, we will set the stage for examples on how to focus and prioritize when mastering this new reality.
Research from HubSpot found that the top three marketing objectives are converting contacts into customers, growing website traffic and increasing revenue derived from existing customers. Social selling is also more of a priority than ever before. Online content is key to achieving these goals because it allows you to connect with customers in the micro-moments – when they’re browsing that product, or standing in a shop comparing prices. In those valuable moments, you need to have the right content in the right place at the right time to attract customers’ attention.
Just go to an everyday situation in your life, a little bit of stress on your way home from work, drizzle and slush, you feel a bit cold. Or on your way in the morning, morning sun, crisp autumn air, and a warm coffee in your hand. These are totally different moments but if you can be reached and understood in either of these moments it will create trust and loyalty to that brand or for that product. This is what product storytelling is about.
To be successful at this we believe that you need to look at this from two different perspectives: the inside and the outside. One part of it is to collaborate to create your product stories in an efficient way. Another is to have everybody knowing what I in my role contribute to in this chain of product story telling.
At the other end of this, you must be efficient in how you syndicate your products to all selling touch-points. To have your information flowing easily between these touch points, without constantly having to manually do cumbersome touch-ups for the information to work in the different contexts.
Look out for the "5 Absolute Musts" blogposts, my five steps for taking your products to market successfully, in the coming weeks!
Jimmy Ekbäck, Executive Vice President Products & Services, inRiver
Why do some organizations do better than others? Why does it sometimes feel like the competition is faster to the market and always have more satisfied customers? You have probably heard a lot of explanations for this. Our colleague Johan Boström wrote a blog about that you no longer can shoot from the hip….and the discussions was about PIM or DAM, what is needed in what situation. If this is the question! Then you are at least out of the blocks on how you need to transition as an organization to start telling stories around your products at the pace that is expected. As if this is not enough, you have to do it in the moment chosen by your customers. A PIM is no longer a thing for the others, or the bigger ones, this is a mind-set and an approach that is needed for every company to meet the expectations on product information today regardless if it is in a B2B or a B4B or a B2C context.
This is a post in two parts, where this first part will give you a backdrop to better understand the change in progress of how information is consumed today, the second part leads you further into the field and up to the subsequent five robust and hands-on priorities and focus areas that will help you as a marketing organization.
We now live in a reality with a constant flow of information, we search and scan information in a variety of places, especially as customers. The journey has been fragmented into Micro-moments. For you as a Marketer, you need to create the story of your products for each of these fractions in time. For the I - want - to - buy, the I - want - to - know or I - want - to- go moments your products must be able to grasp the attention of the consumers in these situations. To create intelligent products that can do this, you as a product marketer need to rethink the way you create the story around your products and where and when this story is being told.
Micro-moments have fragmented the customer journey:
This is something that is relevant for all organizations.
In the concept of the Mechanics of Last Millisecond Marketing three primary pillars are mostly highlighted as keys to success.
Therefore, it is so important to know WHO we are telling the story to, WHEN & WHERE we are telling it and WHAT are we are saying to maximize that moment.
Jimmy Ekbäck, Executive Vice President Products and Services, inRiver