Be a solution provider first, a software company second and a SaaS company third

I found myself referencing this 4-part series by Lincoln Murphy on the challenges of enterprise SaaS several times recently:

Part 1 – calls to question some of the value of a pure-play SaaS model in an enterprise market.
Part 2 – talks about some of the unique selling challenges in the space.
Part 3 – separates on-demand delivery mechanism (SaaS) from on-demand licensing model (Utility) and calls both to question in some settings.
Part 4 – Provides a shorter summary of Parts 1+3 and briefly touches on the “unnecessary” requirement of absorbing all support costs.
Addendum/fallback – clarifies a few key points around the distinction between hybrid SaaS and hybrid licensing and source-code escrow.

Though these posts are more than 7 years old by now, the content still holds true. The reason for that, and why I thought it’s worthwhile to mention it in this blog, is because of the core of Lincoln’s arguments there’s a powerful kernel of truth that’s beautifully captured in the title of this blog post (taken from one of the posts in his series): “Be a solution provider first, a software company second and a SaaS company third”.

Generalizing it just a bit it reads as follows: In the end of the day, we (the company) exist to solve a problem for our customers. The way we go about solving it from a functional perspective (being a software company) and from a business perspective (using a SaaS business model) are means to an end. Sometimes the means that we choose can get in the way of solving the problem for our customers, and then they need to change. Often times companies forget this basic truth and stick to their functional/business approach at all costs, finding themselves in a situation where they’re trying to jam a square peg into a round hole and setting themselves up for failure.

So be a solution provider first 🙂

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Be a solution provider first, a software company second and a SaaS company third

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