Thursday, December 09, 2010

The SaaS Consumer’s Point of View – Negotiating an Agreement

“The food was superb, the atmosphere was great, the service was outstanding; it was those goddamned customers that had to ruin it all”. (Morris Green, restaurateur, NYC, 1987)

This short article is an introduction to an interesting blog post that was published recently by Derek Singleton from ERP Software Advice, but before I let you go, I want to take this opportunity to talk about the customer’s perspective.
My writings, presentations and webinars have been mostly dedicated to the point of view of the software provider, whether SaaS or SaaS-to-be. I would like to present a different point of view.

Throughout the years of being on the software provider’s side I have learned a thing two on what makes a happy customer and that is the guiding light I have been trying to follow for years.
I believe that if we understand the customer’s perspective we have a better chance of providing a good service and creating a happy, loyal customer base.

Who is the customer?

SaaS adoption has been mostly done in a haphazard fashion throughout the years. Many of the early adopters were business managers at the department level in the enterprise.
Even within smaller companies, the decision to consume SaaS was usually a point solution, for a particular issue to handle and not as part of a well thought process and methodology.

In many cases the IT department and CIOs were kept out of the loop in defining needs, selecting the service, negotiating the deals and the process of provisioning and de-provisioning. In the extreme, IT found out about their company consuming a web application only when a user would call the help desk and ask for support.

As more CIOs are ‘getting it’, as more IT departments are becoming cloud-oriented they are becoming that target customers, rather than the end users. They are usually better equipped (once their fears are neutralized) to judge the provider, the application, the integration and to negotiate a better deal for the organization.
These IT professionals should be planning a Roadmap for SaaS so that the consumed applications become part of a coherent plan rather than something the cat dragged in.

We should start focusing on this new generation of SaaS customers.

An interesting article covering the negotiations with a provider is therefore presented.

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