Only Possible With SaaS………
In a couple of my past posts, I pointed out that SaaS is not a one-size-fits-all deployment option. However, I do believe that there are some types of solutions that can only be effectively delivered as a SaaS solution – call it the “SaaS only” option.
Typically, “SaaS only” is applicable when the software/service meets one of four functional criteria:
(1) “SaaS only” solutions require significant deployment and operational resources to be effective. The Celarix logistics visibility service is a good example of this. To achieve supply-chain visibility, you need at least 20 interfaces to logistics providers. Setting-up those interfaces is extremely costly and time-consuming. Managing them going forward is also complicated with hundreds and thousands of inbound transactions every day. With over 300 predefine interface as part of their service, Celarix can provide customers with the visibility they need significantly faster and more cost effectively than any other alternative.
(2) “SaaS only” solutions include data that requires constant updates. There is a brilliant new service being launched that can only be successful in a SaaS model – let’s call it LeadDB. It’s not the services’ real name, but it is still in Beta and under-wraps. IQ is participating in the Beta. LeadDM provides a list purchasing service unlike any others that I have encountered. Once you have logged-in to their service, you can enter your segmentation criteria and they will return target names that meet those criteria. You can then buy specific names one-by-one or in bulk. Fast forward to their new offering – by adding a couple of lines of code to your website, you can receive cont
act names (that meet your segmentation criteria) for the companies that are visiting your site. Set a monthly budget and distribution rules and each day you will get a list of potential prospects for your lead gen activities. It’s a great way to bridge the gap between people that complete our online forms and those that just visit. Given the timeliness of LeadDBs data and the complexity of updating their contact database, there is no way this type of solution would be possible in any model other than SaaS.
(3) “SaaS only” solutions provide information that is only available by aggregating data across their customer base. Google has just rolled-out a new capability in their Analytics tool called Benchmarking. Basically you can use it to benchmark yourself against your peers and see how your site performs in 6 different categories (IQ currently outperforms in 5 of 6 and our next website release should address #6). It would be impossible to do this type of analysis in non-SaaS analytics packages.
(4) “SaaS only” solutions include a value-added component in their service. Constant Contact (CC) is a great example of this. The CC service has a few main components: (1) email creation, (2) list management, and (3) email distribution (with SPAM management, SPAM compliance validation and white listing). Of these components, #3 is most useful to me. I can easily replicate components #1 & #2 using an installed product, but having a level of assurance that my domain won’t be black-listed as a spammer is a major benefit. A benefit that CC provides as part of their SaaS model and one that I could not easily replicate.
So, anybody thinking of deploying a new software solution (or re-deploying an existing one) in a SaaS model should really evaluate if their solution meets one of the four “SaaS only” criteria, or if the change is simply a “buzz” driven decision.
Next up is a model for identifying SaaS go-to-market strategies (i.e. marketing, sales, services) based on target customer profiles. Stay tuned.