Living in a Cloud world, we should all be becoming more and more familiar with the term “as-a-service”. The technology space is buzzing (arguably saturated) with Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) references. Personally, I am happy to see businesses transforming and finding ways to become more efficient and cost effective in a Cloud world.
Technology-speak aside though, I have started noticing a small (but rapidly growing) revolution that is flowing through the ranks of business users.
A Revolution Has Begun
Business users care less and less about technology. The type of server or IaaS or hybrid setup that IT departments configure and manage are of little interest to the Marketing Officer or Accountant on the receiving end of systems. What they do care about is having easy access to the tools necessary to conduct business. They care about solutions that literally solve business needs. And they don’t necessarily want to wait for months or years for IT to allocate some CapEx budget to buy a whole system to solve their needs. There is no money, and no time to waste.
If you wait around for IT to find the time and money to solve all the business needs through complex systems, you are going to lose out. In a day and age where consumers have been trained to think “There’s an app for that!” solution providers are springing up who can talk to business users and provide an app (or solution).
The Immense Challenge of Solutions
It’s all well and good for Business Users to demand solutions and even find solutions on their own, but the increase in freedom and choice can also lead to epic technology failures. This is where I put on my IT hat. IT Groups are uniquely positioned in an organization to see the whole picture of how information needs to flow, and how processes need to work throughout the organization. In marketing, I may be gun-ho about accessing particular customer information and tracking metrics in a certain way.
But I may not see the importance of Finance having sight into the same system I’m using to help with Financial Projections or tracking costs. I also may not see the importance of Customer Support seeing data early on in the sales process. So as a business user, I may find and start utilizing a particular solution to meet my marketing needs – but IT has the responsibility to meet not only my needs in marketing, but also the needs of many different functions throughout the organization.
This is where all the complexity, time and expense usually comes in. Until now.
Here is where I offer you Solutions-as-a-Service (“Sol-aaS” if you will). Here is the convergence of what Business Users want and what IT Departments can happily enable. In this context, Sol-aaS means that a Provider is delivering solutions (e.g. Automated Business Processes) through an on-demand, subscription based model to their customers.
Microsoft Office 365 (O365) is one of the fastest growing software products ever. In a recent interview with Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela described how over 110 Million people upgraded to O365 in a matter of weeks. Video Interview MSFT CMO That is incredible. And in many regions, Year-over-Year growth is upwards of 80%. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people are using O365.
But O365, for all of its wonder and glory (lower cost, greater accessibility and many other reasons) is severely underutilized. Technology Partners, and I’m going to speak specifically to Microsoft Partners because we’re in an O365 space, you can now deliver Sol-aaS through Office 365.
Teleios QuikWorx is a platform that allows Microsoft Partners to very quickly build solutions (without code, through the use of templates combined with a drag and drop interface) and deploy into their customer's O365 environment. The solutions are packaged with O365 as an monthly, per user subscription model. Here is how everyone wins:
- Customers get the solutions they want, and there is no need to invest in an additional platform, additional technology or learn something new. The same place they go for email and Skype for Business, they can go to access their solutions (business processes).
- Microsoft Partners are happy because their time to market is unbeatable (days or hours to deliver versus months in a customer development world), and they earn recurrent, high-margin revenue – not one-time transactions.
Transformation is not casual and does not happen overnight. [My colleague Kevin Khelawan wrote more on transformation here]. The model of selling Solutions-as-a-Service requires approaching sales and customer management in very different ways from transactional, reselling models.
But there is hope. Partners can now leverage the momentum of O365 in a very meaningful, very profitable way.
Find out more at www.quikworxcloud.com
Heidi Alert heads the Global Sales & Marketing for Teleios Systems.