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Early arrivals will capture SaaS market

Early arrivals will capture SaaS market

With analyst predictions tipping software as a service (SaaS) will comprise as much as 50 percent of software spending by 2013, New Zealand commentators say local partners and developers have an opportunity to cash in among small businesses and niche markets.

According to Intergen group manager Ed Robinson, there’s a chance for the IT industry to collaborate on Saas in the same way as New York and California software companies did during the dot com boom, with start-ups helping start-ups and defining business models and conventions. “This is the time for New Zealand software companies to really begin working together. We can either lead the world into the future or follow behind. The decision is ours to make,” he says.

Steven Graham general manager of local software development and services firm Fronde believes the tipping point for the delivery method – from fad to mainstream – has happened. “It’s a new, more efficient way of doing things. There are too many dismal results from taking a year to deploy software.”

Softwareasaservice.co.nz owner and veteran IT consultant Ian Mitchell agrees with Graham, citing several advantages of SaaS.

Among these are the lack of large upfront costs associated with traditional implementations and that free trials are usually offered. In the longer term, system administration time is reduced and training needs can be minimised.

Because it’s web-delivered mobility is a reality from the start, a plus for salespeople and mobile workforces, says Mitchell. And in the longer term, a Saas offering can easily be switched for another if it doesn’t satisfy.

This ability to quickly change systems could present problems for vendors trying to retain a customer base. Though what is a dilemma for vendors, offers partners a chance to supply a captured client base.

“People providing SaaS will have to think differently about their marketing,” says Microsoft innovation director Brett Roberts. “You won’t be putting ads in the Wall St Journal. There will be a healthy business, helping people make contact with customers.

“As more of these businesses spring up how do people keep their customers, rather than have them try their service for three months and then move on to the next trial?”

The communities that build up as a result of sign-ups to a SaaS service may also become valuable to other businesses, such as advertisers and those offering other products and services, Roberts says.

Vodafone general manager Steve Rieger oversaw the telco’s transition to salesforce.com for hosted and automated customer relationship management.

The adaptability of SaaS was a big plus for his firm, as it got a 12-month licence and deployed salesforce.com within six to eight weeks of the initial consultation.

He says the change resulted in effective portfolio management, effective communication with customers and more customer contact.

Prior to the move, he says there was a lack of centralised customer records, the customer database was of little use and there was no reporting of opportunities.

Another bonus with the move was a power user’s ability to utilise Salesforce’s application exchange, to develop a self-service function for customers to access their own records and log service requests. Reliance on the IT department was therefore reduced.

Brett Roberts points out both users and partners can capitalise on the chance to customise SaaS offerings.

“Both partners and end-users can do that customisation. There will always be a place for developers to add features and configure with existing infrastructure.”

However, New Zealand developers will also find themselves operating in a global context where potential clients are relatively unknown.

“Developers will be developing for people they’ll never meet, so they’ve got to plan to build applications and features with that in mind.”

The small business sector in New Zealand also presents a prime opportunity for vendors' partners in the SaaS environment, says Roberts, but the returns may come later once investment in the business is made.

“In the small business market there’s a big installed base of customers, some of which are very poorly provisioned in their IT. There are definitely some opportunities in that space.

“The first company that works out how to provide the core SaaS model for a small business will be successful quickly, the second one will find it more difficult, the third even harder and there won’t be a fourth or a fifth.”

With analyst predictions tipping software as a service (SaaS) will comprise as much as 50 percent of software spending by 2013, New Zealand commentators say local partners and developers have an opportunity to cash in among small businesses and niche markets.

According to Intergen group manager Ed Robinson, there’s a chance for the IT industry to collaborate on Saas in the same way as New York and California software companies did during the dot com boom, with start-ups helping start-ups and defining business models and conventions. “This is the time for New Zealand software companies to really begin working together. We can either lead the world into the future or follow behind. The decision is ours to make,” he says.

Steven Graham general manager of local software development and services firm Fronde believes the tipping point for the delivery method – from fad to mainstream – has happened. “It’s a new, more efficient way of doing things. There are too many dismal results from taking a year to deploy software.”

Softwareasaservice.co.nz owner and veteran IT consultant Ian Mitchell agrees with Graham, citing several advantages of SaaS.

Among these are the lack of large upfront costs associated with traditional implementations and that free trials are usually offered. In the longer term, system administration time is reduced and training needs can be minimised.

Because it’s web-delivered mobility is a reality from the start, a plus for salespeople and mobile workforces, says Mitchell. And in the longer term, a Saas offering can easily be switched for another if it doesn’t satisfy.

This ability to quickly change systems could present problems for vendors trying to retain a customer base. Though what is a dilemma for vendors, offers partners a chance to supply a captured client base.

“People providing SaaS will have to think differently about their marketing,” says Microsoft innovation director Brett Roberts. “You won’t be putting ads in the Wall St Journal. There will be a healthy business, helping people make contact with customers.

“As more of these businesses spring up how do people keep their customers, rather than have them try their service for three months and then move on to the next trial?”

The communities that build up as a result of sign-ups to a SaaS service may also become valuable to other businesses, such as advertisers and those offering other products and services, Roberts says.

Vodafone general manager Steve Rieger oversaw the telco’s transition to salesforce.com for hosted and automated customer relationship management.

The adaptability of SaaS was a big plus for his firm, as it got a 12-month licence and deployed salesforce.com within six to eight weeks of the initial consultation.

He says the change resulted in effective portfolio management, effective communication with customers and more customer contact.

Prior to the move, he says there was a lack of centralised customer records, the customer database was of little use and there was no reporting of opportunities.

Another bonus with the move was a power user’s ability to utilise Salesforce’s application exchange, to develop a self-service function for customers to access their own records and log service requests. Reliance on the IT department was therefore reduced.

Brett Roberts points out both users and partners can capitalise on the chance to customise SaaS offerings.

“Both partners and end-users can do that customisation. There will always be a place for developers to add features and configure with existing infrastructure.”

However, New Zealand developers will also find themselves operating in a global context where potential clients are relatively unknown.

“Developers will be developing for people they’ll never meet, so they’ve got to plan to build applications and features with that in mind.”

The small business sector in New Zealand also presents a prime opportunity for vendors' partners in the SaaS environment, says Roberts, but the returns may come later once investment in the business is made.

“In the small business market there’s a big installed base of customers, some of which are very poorly provisioned in their IT. There are definitely some opportunities in that space.

“The first company that works out how to provide the core SaaS model for a small business will be successful quickly, the second one will find it more difficult, the third even harder and there won’t be a fourth or a fifth.”

With analyst predictions tipping software as a service (SaaS) will comprise as much as 50 percent of software spending by 2013, New Zealand commentators say local partners and developers have an opportunity to cash in among small businesses and niche markets.

According to Intergen group manager Ed Robinson, there’s a chance for the IT industry to collaborate on Saas in the same way as New York and California software companies did during the dot com boom, with start-ups helping start-ups and defining business models and conventions. “This is the time for New Zealand software companies to really begin working together. We can either lead the world into the future or follow behind. The decision is ours to make,” he says.

Steven Graham general manager of local software development and services firm Fronde believes the tipping point for the delivery method – from fad to mainstream – has happened. “It’s a new, more efficient way of doing things. There are too many dismal results from taking a year to deploy software.”

Softwareasaservice.co.nz owner and veteran IT consultant Ian Mitchell agrees with Graham, citing several advantages of SaaS.

Among these are the lack of large upfront costs associated with traditional implementations and that free trials are usually offered. In the longer term, system administration time is reduced and training needs can be minimised.

Because it’s web-delivered mobility is a reality from the start, a plus for salespeople and mobile workforces, says Mitchell. And in the longer term, a Saas offering can easily be switched for another if it doesn’t satisfy.

This ability to quickly change systems could present problems for vendors trying to retain a customer base. Though what is a dilemma for vendors, offers partners a chance to supply a captured client base.

“People providing SaaS will have to think differently about their marketing,” says Microsoft innovation director Brett Roberts. “You won’t be putting ads in the Wall St Journal. There will be a healthy business, helping people make contact with customers.

“As more of these businesses spring up how do people keep their customers, rather than have them try their service for three months and then move on to the next trial?”

The communities that build up as a result of sign-ups to a SaaS service may also become valuable to other businesses, such as advertisers and those offering other products and services, Roberts says.

Vodafone general manager Steve Rieger oversaw the telco’s transition to salesforce.com for hosted and automated customer relationship management.

The adaptability of SaaS was a big plus for his firm, as it got a 12-month licence and deployed salesforce.com within six to eight weeks of the initial consultation.

He says the change resulted in effective portfolio management, effective communication with customers and more customer contact.

Prior to the move, he says there was a lack of centralised customer records, the customer database was of little use and there was no reporting of opportunities.

Another bonus with the move was a power user’s ability to utilise Salesforce’s application exchange, to develop a self-service function for customers to access their own records and log service requests. Reliance on the IT department was therefore reduced.

Brett Roberts points out both users and partners can capitalise on the chance to customise SaaS offerings.

“Both partners and end-users can do that customisation. There will always be a place for developers to add features and configure with existing infrastructure.”

However, New Zealand developers will also find themselves operating in a global context where potential clients are relatively unknown.

“Developers will be developing for people they’ll never meet, so they’ve got to plan to build applications and features with that in mind.”

The small business sector in New Zealand also presents a prime opportunity for vendors' partners in the SaaS environment, says Roberts, but the returns may come later once investment in the business is made.

“In the small business market there’s a big installed base of customers, some of which are very poorly provisioned in their IT. There are definitely some opportunities in that space.

“The first company that works out how to provide the core SaaS model for a small business will be successful quickly, the second one will find it more difficult, the third even harder and there won’t be a fourth or a fifth.”


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