In case you didn’t know, the days of business-to-business (B2B) software-as-a-service are upon us. If you’re a software developer and you haven’t begun planning a SaaS offering, stop reading this article right now, go gather your team and get started. Seriously, you’re already late.
Ok, now that they’re gone, this article is for the rest of us: the B2B software end-users.
I have it on good authority, that in the next couple of years most of us are going to throw away our piles of compact discs and DVDs and replace them with bandwidth. We’re going to say goodbye to license fees and free-up some square footage by dismantling our servers. We’re then going to embrace the technologies that give us access to always-on, internet-based services which we will access from our new server-rooms-turned-corner-offices. The benefits are manifold: accessing software typically costs less than owning it, online services are accessible from any location and on a plethora of devices, and we don’t have to worry about things like hard drive failures when our documents aren’t actually stored on our hard drives.
The unfortunate side-effect of our herd-like flocking to internet-based services is that, by forfeiting our ownership of the servers and software that fuel our businesses, we put our destinies in the hands of software companies that, put simply, are software companies. They’ve spent many years honing algorithms and interfaces that made us want their software in the first place but unfortunately, those years were not spent learning how to offer that software, as a service. After all, we bought the servers, we provided the power, often times we even installed the software ourselves. Believe it or not, sometimes we’re better at running software than the vendors who sold it to us.
Fortunately, some software companies are comprised of incredibly smart people who do amazing and innovative things. They also have amazing tools available to them to supplement what they lack in experience. I have every bit of faith (*cough* SaaSGrid) that with some hard work (*sniffle* SaaSGrid), and a bit of help (*yelling* SaaSGrid), our trusted software vendors will seamlessly make the transition from shrink-wrappers to world-class service providers, without us noticing as much as a blip on our B2B, software-consuming, radars.
As end-users, we have an obligation to ensure this whole thing goes smoothly. We need to hold our service providers accountable. One way to do that is by relentlessly asking questions. Interestingly, no one is more qualified than us to ask the appropriate questions, because we’re the ones who’ve been running software on-premises for 20-years. We know the scenarios and situations to avoid, and most of these scenarios translate into very good questions that each and every service provider should be able to answer in a way that not only gives you the warm and fuzzies but also makes technical sense. Remember, we’re banking our businesses on these companies’ ability to learn how to provide software-as-a-service. I’d at least like to know that they have a plan.
In part two of the Transparency In The Cloud series, we’ll start a list of questions that you should ask each and every SaaS vendor you approach. The questions are designed to help us guide the B2B SaaS transformation by making us all knowledgeable and empowered SaaS end-users.
Stay tuned!read more