When it comes to the SaaS landscape, there’s no shortage of competition.
But, in order to beat the competition, you don’t necessarily need to be the most well-known or long-established SaaS company around.
You just need to know how to optimize your SaaS sales process to work for you.
That said, companies looking for SaaS solutions don’t usually sign up for the first solution they come across.
This makes your job of generating leads and closing sales challenging, no matter how successful you currently are.
With the right strategies in hand, however, you can speed up the SaaS sales process andgrow your business, and have plenty of satisfied clients taking advantage of your solution.
What is SaaS?
SaaS stands for software as a service. It’s software that’s hosted, secured, and managed by a single external provider.
Customers access the software you provide online, customize it to their liking, and receive support from your customer service team.
When it comes toselling your SaaS solution to clients, whether they’re new to your service or customers looking to upgrade, you’ll likely face a longer sales cycle.
This is because SaaS solutions are expensive since your company is responsible for engineering, maintaining, and supporting the software you provide clients.
In fact, if you’re serious about your SaaS solution, you’ll take care to put the proper security measures in place to make sure your software, and the customers that use it, are protected from malicious activity.
You might even invest inSIEM security so that your software is protected in the following ways:
24/7 managed security monitoring
Intrusion detection and prevention
Data loss prevention and file integrity monitoring
Ensuring your clients that their business is safe while using your SaaS solution is crucial to your reputation and growth as a business.
But that means investing in more costly protection of your software’s networks, infrastructure, systems, and applications.
Although you can’t get around the fact that your SaaS solution is pricey and that people aren’t usually ready to invest in expensive software right away, there are ways to shorten the SaaS sales process and boost conversion rates.
So, let’s take a look.
How to Optimize the SaaS Sales Process?
1. Create a Sales Funnel
Guiding prospective customers through your sales funnel is the way to secure more sales.
In fact, the path you set up for people to follow when they’re interested in what you have to offer is the only way to get paying customers.
The problem is, most SaaS companies fail to optimize their sales funnel.
Here are some ways to make sure your SaaS sales funnel is set up for success:
Identify your target audience, so that you’re focusing only on those that will benefit from the solution you offer
Find out how to interact with and engage your target audience so you can pique their interest
Discover ways to identify whether your leads are highly qualified and actually interested in buying from you, or are just window shopping
Learn the best ways to convert your leads into paying customers
Of course, this process is going to take a lot of research, planning, and even experimentation to find out what works best for your company.
But trust us, after you lay the foundation for your SaaS sales funnel, you’ll be happy to have invested all that time and effort.
2. Offer Free Trials
Offering a free trial for your SaaS solution is a great way to give prospective customers a chance to check out your solution before investing their hard-earned money.
They can get accustomed to how it works and even see whether it’s a good fit for their company.
However, try to limit the free trial to a short period of time.
Sure, offering lengthy trials seems like a good idea. After all, you want to give potential clients enough time to see how your SaaS solution can help them.
But when the trial lasts too long, you’ll find yourself with fewer conversions.
That’s because most people don’t use free trials, regardless of the length of time they’re available, for their full duration.
Usually, they quickly check in on what you have to offer and decide whether it’s the solution for them or not.
Not to mention, longer trial periods mean people have a chance to put off looking at your solution since they have the time.
Unfortunately, this means some leads will put off using your free trial, thinking they’ll come back later, and never return.
This means you’ve lost a conversion.
Though a 30-day free trial is typical for a SaaS-based solution, aim for 2 weeks instead and see how your conversion rates fare.
Free trials are meant to create customers, and the fact that they’re short-lived instils a sense of urgency. Use that to your advantage to secure more sales.
3. Focus on Email Marketing
Email campaigns are one of the best ways to optimize your SaaS sales process. That said, when it comes to getting more customers, it’s all about the timing.
Using a reputable email marketing provider such asMailChimp can help you create automated email campaigns that go out to the right people at the right time so you can land more sales.
Though many SaaS solutions are built on a monthly payment basis, aim to convince customers to sign up for an annual plan to really grow your business.
After all, larger sources of revenue paid upfront can spur your company’s growth.
Not every client is going to be okay investing in an annual plan.
But for those that are a perfect fit for your company and are sure they love what you have to offer, this is a great opportunity for you to collect more money right now.
From there you can reinvest in your business, SaaS sales process, and software you sell to make it better for not for current customers, but those that will be buying from you in the future.
Want to make sure people renew at the end of their annual plan?
Offer discounts to those that agree to sign up for one.
Doing this shows your customers you care, makes them feel they’re getting more bang for their buck and still gives you enough cash flow to make further investments in your business.
When it comes to shortening the SaaS sales process and growing your business, it’s all about targeting the right people at the right time with a solution that will work for them.
Being able to market your product effectively, build long-lasting relationships with current customers, and facilitate new relationships with prospective clients is the key to optimizing your SaaS sales process.
If you do that and use the above-mentioned strategies to generate more leads and secure more sales, you’ll see the business grow faster than you ever thought possible.
Big data and analytics have come a long way and are now on top of the corporate agenda. A large number of entrepreneurs are depending on it to transform their businesses. At present, data-driven strategies are becoming an increasingly crucial point of competitive differentiation.
To successfully exploit data and analytics, companies require 3 supportive capabilities. First, a company must be in a position to identify, collate and manage many sources of data. Next, they should have the capability to set up an advanced analytics model to predict and optimize outcomes, and then the management must have the capability to transform the company so that the data and models can yield better decisions.
Two critical features underpin these competencies. a) an effective strategy on how data and analytics can be used for competing and deploying the right technology architecture. More importantly, a proper vision of the expected business impact has to shape the approach to data sourcing and the transformation of the business. Entrepreneurs must invest a lot of time and effort in aligning managers across the organization in support of the mission.
1. Picking the right data
The way data modeling is carried out has changed over the years. The amount of information available is rapidly growing, while the potential to expand insights by bringing together data is accelerating. Large sets of data offer companies a granular view of the business environment. The ability to see what was previously unavailable helps in improving the operations and customer experiences. This also means that you are doing well in 2 areas.
Creative data sourcing
Most often, companies have all the data they need for tackling business challenges, however, managers just do not know the way they can put that into use effectively to make some serious business decisions. Companies must encourage their employees to understand data better by being specific about the business challenges and opportunities that they need to address.
Entrepreneurs must also get creative in exploring the external sources of data. The social media channels generate terabytes of unstructured data in various content forms. One way to bring in a broader thinking about the potential data is to find out if one can make business transforming decisions if all the information required is available at fingertips.
Seeking the required support
Legacy IT structures may hamper the new types of data sourcing and analysis. Existing IT architectures may not allow the integration of siloed information, and managing unstructured data often remains beyond traditional IT capabilities.
It will take many years to completely solve these issues, however, business leaders can address short-term needs by prioritizing the requirements. This will help in quickly identifying and connecting the most critical data for use in analytics and then setting up a cleanup operation to synchronize data and work around missing information.
2. A model to optimize the business outcomes
Although data is necessary, the performance improvements and the competitive advantage arise from the analytics models that help managers in predicting and optimizing the outcomes. More importantly, an effective approach to building a model generally begins with not just data but determining a business opportunity and how a business model can improve the performance.
Even though advanced statistical methods make for better models, experts at times design models that are way too complex to be practical and may even exhaust the organizational capabilities. Companies should look for the least complex model that can improve its performance.
3. Redefining the business capabilities
One of the major concerns of the top management teams is that they really do not understand big data models and thereby do not use them. These kinds of issues often pop up due to a mismatch between a company’s current culture and the emerging tactics to explore analytics.
The new strategies either do not sync well with how businesses arrive at decisions or completely fail in providing a blueprint for realizing business goals. In order to effectively use big data, your business has to go through a drastic change, and certain actions will lead you there.
Building business relevant analytics
A lot of companies fail in the implementation of big data and analytics because they are not in line with a firm’s day to day processes. Model designers will have to understand the kind of business judgments that managers make in order to align their actions with that of the company goals.
Interactions with top-level managers will ensure that the analytics and tools complement the current decision processes, so the companies can manage a range of trade-offs effectively.
Exploiting big data with better capabilities
A good number of companies must upgrade their analytical skills. In order to make analytics a part of day-to-day operations, managers will have to see it as central to sorting issues and also identifying good opportunities. The efforts put in will definitely vary based on a company’s goals.
Adjusting culture and the mindsets generally require a multifaceted approach, which includes regular training and role modeling by top-level managers or leaders. Usually, the forum/field approach works best, where the employees participate in the real-time analytics based workspace, where they get a real-time experience in learning more about analytics and its impact.
According to industry experts, this is the right time to invest in learning and implementation of big data and analytics. However, instead of taking a big step forward, the leadership should focus on targeted efforts to source data and transform the company culture. Such efforts can help in maintaining flexibility.
As more number of organizations master the key skills of using big data, building superior capabilities will become a decisive competitive asset.
Technology has been evolving at a rapid pace in the past few decades. With remote devices and cloud computing now a standard in today’s business world, many firms are moving forward and embracing technologies like AI and IoT into their workflows.
Of course, the problem with adopting the new age technology supported tools is determining what can be done with those legacy systems that are not relevant or outdated. For a vast majority of companies, the answer to this is either modernizing the old technologies of completely dropping them off in favor of a modern solution.
Avoid rewriting, build your functionalities instead
The most cost-effective approach when it comes to modernization is to completely rebuild the functionalities in a new platform. People with an expertise in the older platform are going to be extremely expensive and will also be hard to find. Therefore, your primary focus should be on gaining a good understanding of the old system and its functionalities, then build it completely from scratch on a new platform.
Release prototypes for validation, then launch a phased migration
Companies will have to adopt a 2 pronged strategy. They should first release prototypes for validating the business case for the latest technology, then implement a phased migration to replace or augment the legacy technology. The phases migration will enable the enterprise to leverage the new technology with a seamless experience for customers during the transformation.
Disregard systems that cannot be supported
As a businessman, one needs to maintain all the business critical systems. All systems do have ongoing costs attached to it, whether it is technical maintenance or other recurring expenses. Keeping up with the maintenance brings down technical debt and makes those costs more obvious. You must decide if a system is really important enough to support the cost or if it can be completely eliminated. Never put yourself at a financial risk by maintaining unimportant systems.
Implementing the basic elements of a modern system
If you cannot overhaul legacy system all at once, then take a pragmatic approach, initially incorporating the elements such as the distributed workflows, Machine learning, and open protocols. These will serve as the basic foundation of a modern architecture that you can later augment with flexible frameworks and other emerging technologies like blockchain or IoT.
Customers come first
When your company is adopting new technology, the thing that really matters is how your customers will be impacted. Modernizing the tech stacks can be very detrimental to user experience early in the adoption cycle, however, they will certainly pay dividends in the future. This balance between short and long-term customer satisfaction is what agile teams always evaluate.
Opt for agile tools that support existing systems
When you are considering new technologies, look for how it can be integrated with other tools in your tech stack. It is not only critical that the software can do its job, but that it can also play well with others. Fragmented customer data will not just work in the current customer focused era, and any money that you would have spent in the maintenance of the legacy tool must go into integrating all the systems together.
Designing the rollout
It is a known fact that poor execution is what causes the death of technology adoption. Users have a distinct experience when migrating from one solution to another, or to technology from another medium. If the rollout is designed to be informative and easy, the adoption rate is way higher than something that is deployed poorly with no information. The ultimate decision maker is your workforce.
Migrate to cloud
Move all your data to the cloud if you have not already, after which you can take some time off to research on new technology. Find out what competitors are using and understand what tools are trending in your industry. Most of the technologies offer free demos or webinars for you to get more familiar with the tech before making any investment.
Question yourself on the business impact and other possibilities
All the current business leaders know that adopting new technologies will not put a company at risk. However, having a slow approach will. The bigger challenge is when companies fall behind security and remediation. You will have to ask yourself some serious questions such as Will the new technology add value to your business? Will it bring down the risk? Will it help the customers? if you feel that the change would benefit the business as a whole then your path is pretty clear.
Solve evidence-based problems
Most of the company owners are really excited about embracing the latest technology to whatever problems may be in front of them. However, this often results in over-engineering, spending time as well as money without a cost-effective benefit. With this in mind, it is best to start off with actual evidence-based problems. If there are none and your tech is already tech proof, focus elsewhere.
The SaaS business model continues to gain more traction across the globe. Companies of all sizes are now embracing SaaS as the next best alternative to the on-premise hardware and software development.
According to the Computer Economics report, around 60% of all companies have now integrated at least some percentage of SaaS solutions into their business, with nearly 36% aiming to increase their investment in the months to come.
Here are 5 reasons why you should be considering SaaS business model for your business applications.
Flexibility and scalability
If you aim to be successful, you will have to be flexible. If you are a business owner, you will have to be able to adjust to changes in your business and also from other external factors.
SaaS applications enable you to choose the delivery model and easily change it when your business requirement changes. It is way easier to get new users, integrate to other systems and turn on an additional set of components.
You will be able to experiment in a less risky environment by trying on a new project, acquisition or user base. Since your provider manages the back-end with the cloud, you do not have to be concerned about the infrastructure.
Thanks to the flexible subscription-based licensing, SaaS applications scale easily. A scale is required to manage huge amounts of data from various sources.
Ease of use and Speed factor
Selection and deployment of a business application has never been an easy task. Factors such as time and effort stack up, even after the implementation is successful. Cloud applications deploy faster, therefore bringing down the installation and administration efforts.
Having an ability to develop and deploy quickly will let one have a competitive edge and also the ability to speed up the business benefits.
SaaS creates value to its users much faster and also offers companies the flexibility that is needed to bring in change when they need it.
Great and updated features
Having the best features for your business apps can actually make work more interesting and can bring in high productivity among employees. Your team can use new features instantly to make informed business decisions.
As a matter of fact, businesses with traditional applications have to spend heavily for upgrades. With SaaS, businesses are benefitted as these upgrades will be managed by the providers, letting businesses focus on or use new capabilities as and when it is available. The security and functionality are improved as it is done in the background.
Minimizing Application Costs
Bringing down the cost of business applications can benefit everyone, from the CXO to the individual business units, which also includes the IT staff. Businesses are increasingly using a system of chargebacks, wherein the IT charges many business units for the IT services that they consume.
Given the lower infrastructure as well as maintenance costs, SaaS business applications can considerably bring down the percentage of your business unit’s budget that is devoted to IT spending, which also means that you can invest in other areas while still using the latest, fully functional and highly secure business applications.
The subscription-based model not only offers a great flexibility in terms of licensing, but its feature rich apps are also quite easy to use and are custom made for the kind of business role a user has.
In case you want to extend the capabilities of SaaS applications, your IT team can easily do so with the help of some development tools that they are already familiar with, also offered in the subscription model.
This mainly saves time, cost and brings down the investment risk. These additional extensions or features will have automatic upgrades, which means, these applications will continue to function smoothly when the underlying platform or the app is upgraded.
Performance and Time Management
The cloud solution deployment time is way less when compared with the on-premise systems. You can deploy a cloud-based system across many regions, thereby avoiding the cost associated with those rollouts.
No additional hardware is required, which also means that you will not be wasting time in procuring and setting up IT infrastructure and VPN access across numerous sites.
You can add in more number of users as your business expands without thinking about improving the hardware.
Cloud-based applications are built so that the maximum network performance is adaptive to one’s requirement unlike the on-premise setups, where the performance is mainly dependant on the in-house servers.
This also means as and when your business grows, you will certainly outgrow the server’s capacity and will have to additionally purchase and install hardware and even hire and train many more IT employees.
Even though the cloud-based platforms are very cost-effective, you must make sure that the software platform and applications that you are signing up for will certainly work cohesively. Not all SaaS applications integrate with existing on-premise apps or platforms.
With SaaS, service providers are taking all the burden of security, availability, and performance, which means that these systems are a hassle-free, secure option that any business aiming to grow should consider as a necessary improvement.
Companies using Cloud-based apps with the SaaS business model are increasing in number, the reason being, it is based on the subscription model and has numerous benefits.
Age old business applications are now going out of the present IT plans of many businesses. The ability of fast deployment with lower investment risk has made business owners to choose SaaS solutions over other alternative choices.
Businesses have been constantly looking for solutions that can meet the organizational requirement such as data security and high performance and SaaS fits the requirement in these kinds of scenarios.
The Augmented Reality revolution has reached a new point, with enterprise adoption overshadowing the consumer world. Market leaders have started directing their focus from niche offerings to strategies that are anchored in prototypes designed for industrialization.
Augmented reality has prevailed multi-domains such as gaming, media, marketing or even traveling. In short, this technology offers ample opportunities for new or existing business in the current era.
According to Statista, Augmented Reality is expected to be acquiring close to 1 billion users by the end of the year 2020. The global shipment of smart AR glasses is expected to reach 5.4 million units by 2020. The global AR market is also expected to grow to 90 billion USD by 2020.
In the next few decades, advances in augmented reality/virtual reality, and immersive technologies will lead to more intuitive ways for technology to better our lives. In the future, our means of interfacing with digital information will no longer be hardware or screens, but more emotions and gestures.
A lot of companies have now shifted their focus from experimenting with AR/VR devices to setting up mission-critical applications in the enterprise. Consumer-oriented investments in entertainment continue, however increasingly the real action is taking place at the workplace.
Augmented reality is making impactful changes in the operational departments of many industries, here are 6 ways how AR can change the way businesses function.
Access to 24/7 information
With AR technologies, retrieving information from anywhere at any given point of time is possible. These technologies are so advanced that they enable users to swiftly travel into the past from anywhere just by using some immersive device.
It can completely enhance an individual’s perception of reality, with the ability to modify data, change views and other elements of sight and sound.
Replacement of User Manuals with Real-Time Instructions
The product manuals will very soon be a thing of the past with AR coming into the picture. Paper manuals required the right graphic illustrations along with the right interpretation of words.
The smartphone-enabled AR programs will be able to easily recognize overlay text or video instructions. AR glasses will provide the best experience of this, allowing for hands-free, real-time instruction viewing in line with the user action.
Augmented Reality will transform management in every industry
AR is all set to completely revolutionize the way supervisors carry out their tasks in any industry. For instance, just imagine supervisors walking on the floor with a fighter pilot style display right in front of their eyes.
Imagine how efficient they will be when they can quickly read performance data to assist employees with complex issues or even identify employees that are falling behind.
With the help of AR, the supervisors will not only be able to detect problems in real time, but also have a clarity on where they have to devote their time and effort in order to get the best outcome. In short, AR will equip supervisors with analytical and observational superpowers.
AR’s Potential in Transforming the Payment Process in Retail
As AR technology crosses the threshold from innovation to maturation, it will totally shake up customer experience and the retail industry as we know it. AR enables a wider range of payment authenticators that can be used in regular rotation to mislead fraudsters.
An end user anticipating a retina scan to confirm identity or payment validity, for example, might be asked to provide a hand motion or voiceprint instead.
This interesting concept of adaptive authentication is best suited for high-risk transactions when an anomaly might be detected. In this age of consumerism where the merchants face an increasing demand for enhanced experiences, a strong 2-factor authentication will be the norm.
All the private data that is transferred using this technology can be effectively protected with several existing transaction controls such as tokenization or 3D secure.
AR will Transform Product Design and Manufacturing
The president of MyStemKits, Laron Walker, believes that AR will transform engineering and product design. The days of developing products in silos, the prolonged feedback cycles or the costly prototype manufacturing no more exist.
AR will allow 3D modeling software for extending their design surface from the PC to the real world. Modelers will change their designs in real time, while also engaging stakeholders for feedback instantly.
The designs will be perfect with regard to the functionality and form before it is packaged for 3D printing or other forms of manufacturing. This will thereby result in a lesser cost of manufacturing and also the time to market will decrease.
The role of AR in healthcare
Some years ago, the IoT made a buzz with its role in transforming the healthcare sector. Now AR is also finding its way into the healthcare sector.
AR, for instance, can be used to improve the way surgeries are carried out at present. It is not an unheard fact that precision is of the crucial factors when a surgery is carried out.
The fact is, it can determine the success/failure of an intervention. In order to make surgeons more precise, 3D visualizations can be made use of to display organs from various angles in real-time.
The augmented reality tools or apps are mainly designed with an aim of eliminating user pain points and create a personalized customer experience. The successful AR implementation into a business model can also seriously impact the way the consumers see the stores of the future.
The insane popularity of certain game apps such as Pokemon Go conveys that a lot of users are ready to embrace this technology and are eagerly looking forward to using AR-enabled devices.
One thing that is definitely clear is a fact that we are going to see a rise in the adoption of AR applications in various industries such as real estate, fashion, the automotive and retail market in the near future.
Digital transformation can be defined as the integration of digital technologies into all areas of business, primarily changing how companies operate and deliver value to its customers. It helps a company to keep pace with emerging customer demands.
Digital transformation enables businesses to better compete in an economic landscape that is constantly changing as technology evolves. Therefore, it is necessary for any business that aims to survive into the future.
In the scope of this overview, we primarily look at the business dimension. The mentioned development of new competencies revolves around the capacities to be more innovative, agile, customer-centric and be able to capitalize on opportunities to change the status quo and also tap into the highly informative and service driven revenue. The efforts put into the digitization processes are most urgent.
With an effective digital transformation strategy, companies look to create the required capabilities to efficiently leverage the possibilities and opportunities of new technologies and its impact faster, and in a more innovative way in the future. The journey needs a staged approach with a well-defined roadmap, which involves a variety of stakeholders, beyond silos and limitations.
The human element is critical when it comes to the Digital transformation journey. Humans play a crucial role in the stages of transformation such as culture, collaboration, skills, empowerment and so on.
Since businesses also understand that they cannot digitize everything and as they also value the human interaction, there will always be on the offline element, depending on the context. Yet, even in the non-digital front, digital transformation plays a role in empowering any customer facing agent.
According to the IDC research, by the end of 2019, companies spending on digital transformation will reach $1.7 trillion worldwide, a 42% increase from 2017.
Technology drives the need for digitization and supports this process in an organization. Moreover, there is no single technology as such that enables digital transformation. There are multiple critical processes in a company that must have to transform.
Cloud computing, for instance, grants a company faster access to its required set of functionalities along with data storage. Commoditized information technology helps an organization in focusing its investments of talent acquisition and R&D on customized solutions that support the unique requirements and the processes that differentiate it in the marketplace.
Mobile platforms enable work to happen 24/7 from any location. Robust data programs that fuel machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies provide organizations with insights to drive more accurate decisions around sales, product development, and other strategic areas.
Digital transformation examples
Here are some of the companies that have successfully integrated digital transformation into their process.
Starbucks is one of the first few brands that implemented digital transformation, it launched the Starbucks digital ventures in the year 2009. Their mobile app offers a well-integrated and user-friendly digital loyalty platform and has become one of the main factors in building the digital ecosystem.
By letting customers redeem and earn stars and goodies within the app, this brand’s mobile app has become a really powerful tool to attract loyal customers. This approach even helped them increase their overall revenue. As of 2017, the mobile app had close to 20 million active users in the US region alone.
Through digitization, the customer experience has also improved significantly. The customers can now place orders and make the payment with the app using the Order & Pay feature. As a result, the waiting time is eliminated. As this is a more convenient option, a vast majority of customers prefer Mobile Order & Pay.
IKEA gained massive popularity with its immersive digital campaigns. In the year 2009, IKEA was one of the first few companies to have gamification on social media platform, letting the customers win items when they just tag themselves on some of the items in a photograph.
Recently, the company has turned to AR in order to redefine customer experience. IKEA has gotten into a collaboration with Apple to build IKEA Place, an AR application that allows the customers to try out virtual, ready to assemble furniture in a physical environment, before making the final purchase decision.
Digitization has been one of the primary strategies for JetBlue. They focus on process efficiency methodologies by cutting off any transactions that do not contribute to the customer experience.
The process automation generally comes in the form of the automatic check-in process, where the customers are registered, allocated seats and sent their boarding passes one day before their flight.
The company’s in-flight Wi-Fi has also contributed to the crew’s productivity when it comes to attending to the customer needs. The cabin crews can use handheld devices such as iPads to access customer information, such as their category of loyalty membership, or certain personal details such as their birthday, wedding anniversary and so on.
This company has made an effort to keep up with technology consistently. One of their latest innovation is the smartwatch app, which offers information pertaining to the customer’s travel such as real-time flight updates, boarding pass details and so on.
Adding to that, Jetblue has also gone an extra mile in setting up Jetblue Technology Ventures, a subsidiary that is focused on research on future technologies.
How is Digital Transformation impacting various industries?
Digitization plays a crucial role in automotive manufacturing. It equips the interior suppliers with necessary tools and helps them remain flexible and relevant in this modern era.
With an increase in customer demand for value-added vehicles, the automotive suppliers are facing an immense pressure in coming up with the changing preferences and requirements, while remaining operational and profitable.
Digitization in automotive manufacturing has made companies improve their competitiveness while setting a strong foundation for the future growth in a steadily evolving manufacturing landscape.
With emerging technologies, strict regulations and changing customer preferences, the hoteliers are now forced to be highly vigilant.
Today’s biggest challenge is about staying relevant in the market. The need to provide a fantastic customer experience and embracing new market requirements are the key drivers for the digitization in the hospitality industry.
Digital transformation is becoming a driving factor that is bringing about a change in the world around us. Connectivity has not only shown the potential to empower thousands of people but has also provided businesses with fantastic opportunities for value creation.
The Oil and Gas industry has played a significant role in transforming the economic condition of the world over the years. At present, it has the potential to redefine its boundaries using the power of digitization. Digitization can act as an enabler for tackling challenges and providing value to all the stakeholders.
The impact of digital technologies would be far more in the healthcare industry, which is yet to see the full impact of disruption due to technology. The increasing complexity of medical practice, globally aging population, rising demand for quality and consistent health care forces current systems to become smarter.
To this end, an evolution towards improving services and reducing costs has begun. The use of technologies was limited to the digitization of the EHR / EMR, rather than it providing the real impact and value to the providers and to the consumers.
Incorporating Digital Transformation
The best thing about the digital transformation is that there is no single solution. Changing how your company works with tomorrow’s technology depends completely on how you approach and work with today’s technology.
So, where exactly is your company positioned now? Is your company still relying on traditional software? Are your employees already familiar with the public cloud environment, but finding it hard to port apps back in-house?
Is your business ready to make the critical technological decisions? One must understand that wherever you are, that is exactly where you start.
Every company starts from a different place, there is no universally applicable digital transformation framework that fits every business needs. Your company may have to rethink the existing application, business processes, and development methodologies.
Going digital is a long-term strategy, It will involve a technological and cultural change in order to bring about a lasting organizational success. It need not be disruptive, however, the goal should be on getting comfortable with change before the market demands it.
In order to thrive in the subscription economy, companies have to think beyond just setting a monthly pricing on products.
The subscription-based model has to be rethought from the customers perspective, as the shift to this subscription economy is mainly driven by the customers.
Customers of the modern era are expecting a real-time experience with instant fulfillment. Subscribers also have the choice of switching between service providers, which puts the vendors at threat, therefore, they will have to earn the loyalty of their subscribers by providing ongoing value.
In order to do this, they should be able to efficiently market, sell and deliver based on a proper understanding of consumer behavior.
In order to ensure long-term association with customers, companies migrating to a subscription-based model must work on certain key areas:
The identity of a subscriber: The details of the customers should not be restricted to just their names and contact numbers. A subscriber identity record has to include purchases, payment history, refund details, renewal details, usage data and much more.
The Journey of a Subscriber: Companies have to create and manage the subscriber journey, which deepens the connect from initial signup to include upgrades, new services or renewals.
Offer Discounts for longer-term subscriptions: By offering subscribers a variety of payment options, and offering a reasonable discount to those who agree to pay upfront on a quarterly basis or a yearly basis, you have a better chance of attracting more number of customers.
Automate the renewal process: Collect as much data as you possibly can about your customers and send out personalized emails on offers to convince them to renew before they churn, which is usually at the 6 or 12-month mark.
Just a decade ago, Blockbuster dominated the movie rental business and was valued at $8 billion in 2005. Around the same time, Netflix was using the postal service to distribute DVDs, and it didn’t seem to have a chance to compete with Blockbuster.
Yet Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and around the same time Netflix gained 16 million subscribers by streaming movies online.
So, how did Netflix upset Blockbuster?
The executives of Netflix understood that the emerging technology was rapidly changing the delivery of movie rentals. They quickly developed a strategy around internet streaming, prompt customer service, and a remote/virtual firm to offer it flawlessly at an affordable price.
Netflix also improved its service and outmoded pricing. Blockbuster had charged $5 for each movie, and customers hated the fees that were charged for late returns.
Learning from Blockbuster’s mistake, Netflix used a monthly subscription option that allows unlimited rentals without any late fees. These critical strategic moves helped Netflix become one of the best in the business.
The Growth of Atlassian Stack
Going with the Subscription trend, the popular enterprise software company launched Atlassian Stack, (a new subscription service that puts together all of the self-hosted developer tools into a single offering). Starting at $186,875/ year for 1,000 licenses, this new bundle is meant to make the procurement process for enterprises easier and cheaper. At 1,000 licenses, the average price per user comes out to around $15.50/ month. For large enterprises that have more than 10K users on the platform, Atlassian dropped the price to $6.50 per user per month.
The Story of Adobe Systems
Adobe Systems transitioned from a product-sales business model to cloud-based subscription 5 years ago. At this time the prices on its creative suite package were ranging from $1,300 to $ 2,500. Many customers openly went against this idea of renting cloud-based versions. However, subscription to Adobe’s popular creative cloud software has powered a 44% increase in revenue since 2013.
The shift to the subscription economy is rapidly growing. Companies that aim to be ahead of its competitors and maintain long-term customer relationships must start planning their transformation. Afterall, a job well begun is half done.
According to the CEO of Zuora-Tien Tzuo, Subscription-based businesses are growing nine times faster than traditional businesses.
However, the percentage of the total economy that is on this model (Subscription based business) is still low.
For instance, Caterpillar is a company that is worth $50 billion, even if they are billing around $1 billion via subscription business, it will sum up to only 2% of the company.
It is the same when it comes to cars, according to Mckinsey, $1.5 trillion of value will be created by connected devices/connected car services and this is where all the focus is over the next decade. Interestingly, this is just 10 percent of the entire car industry.
Now that we know the potential of this business model, let’s take a look at what can be expected from the subscription economy over the next several years:
Increased Personalization via Data
One of the best things about subscriptions is that you get to use products without having to buy it, and because businesses can track your product/services usage pattern, they will be able to offer you a more personalized version of that service at a much lower price than it would be to buy the entire package.
With the help of modern analytical tools, companies can understand your preferences and this allows them to send you more relevant and helpful content around that particular product or suggest new products that are similar to the one you already have.
Capitalizing on data to drive additional revenue streams
One of the critical factors accelerating the adoption of subscription models is the data generated from subscriptions. As companies realize the potential of this rich data, they will have to start evaluating “how” and “where” the subscription services can be applied.
Data is a priceless asset for companies operating on a subscription model, it enables them to streamline their services and identify new areas of activity and thereby increase revenue.
The next big thing for future growth is to capitalize on the established subscriber relationship through experimentation with pricing.
As per the bi-annual Subscription Economy Index (SEI), Usage-based billing will be the growth accelerant. For instance, the metered use on the NYT (New York Times)website, where, you pay based on how much you read.
All the companies that have at least ten percent of their revenue coming through usage-based model will witness growth rates that are almost twice as high as their competitors. This is a big opportunity to amplify revenue and increase future subscriber growth.
Of course, the success of a company embracing this model will depend on its ability to gather data, analyze it and make business decisions based on its analysis.
With rapidly evolving smart subscription technologies, businesses can certainly achieve exponential growth in the future.
The shift to the subscription economy is rapidly growing. Companies that want to become industry leaders and maintain long-term customer relationships, must start planning their transformation today.
Is your software enterprise ready? Here are 8 must-haves before you can start selling to an enterprise customer.
Modern User Interface
Enterprise software has this notorious distinction of being difficult to use and is still stuck in the nineties. Employees are increasingly exposed to consumer-grade software and are demanding similar ease of use from software at work.
Over the years, designer to developer ratio has constantly improved. LinkedIn reports a ratio of 1 designer for every 8 developers; whereas Dropbox has 1 designer for every 6 developers.
Nobody likes remembering yet another username and password. There are several single-sign-on solutions, and which one you choose depends on the type of enterprise you target.
Most enterprises have an active directory to manage users, so the least you can do is integrate with LDAP / Active Directory. More savvy organizations have SAML. Java-based enterprises use JASIG CAS. Finally, more modern organizations use OAuth based solutions.
Enterprise-grade applications require strong audit controls. At a minimum, your software should be able to answer “Who did what and when”. Wherever possible, try to capture the intent behind the action – i.e. why did the user make this change.
A nice to have feature is an excel or CSV dump of all audit events.
Role Based Access Control
Enterprises have complex team structures and require fine-grained access control. Your software must allow them to create roles and control permissions at an individual feature level.
Multiple Deployment Options
Enterprises are slow to adopt the cloud and like to be in control of their data. Your software should work well in an on-premise environment, behind the corporate firewall.
This means that you cannot depend on third-party REST APIs. If you are using AWS S3, you would need an on-premise equivalent service, otherwise, it would be difficult to sell to an enterprise customer.
Docker-based solutions are increasingly gaining in adoption within the enterprise, and are a good solution to supporting both on-premise and cloud models.
Enterprises have dozens of existing applications, and your software application needs to play well with these applications. The key to this is a well-defined API. It should be possible to totally bypass your user interface and work with the application directly via your provided APIs.
Reporting and Analytics
Your application needs to make it simple to create reports and dashboards. There are several off the shelf tools available for business intelligence, so building a user interface isn’t a differentiator. Instead, concentrate on building a data warehouse, so that enterprise customers can plug in any business intelligence tool.
Feature gates allow you to turn on or off features without redeploying. This gives you the ability to roll out features to only certain customers. Enterprise customers don’t want to test out incomplete or buggy features, and feature gates let you turn off the features without resorting to complex branching strategies.
Cloud has become a buzzword and to those who aren’t exposed to it, it remains a buzzword. The software has been into the business over decades now growing like a banyan tree, and at any point of time, there is always another new branch to it spreading out shade in the form of opportunities and growth.
Today deployment over the cloud is a day to day task. Thanks to all the leading cloud providers and the experts on the cloud who help software gain potential at a quick pace.
Having developed and deployed numerous applications on the cloud, here is a short guide on how you can get your product on the cloud in less than a day.
Choosing the right cloud provider
The cloud market today has various service providers offering great service at competent prices. You may have to spend a few hours identifying the right ones based on your needs. The choice of the cloud provider should depend on your tech stack, deployment strategy, and application usability.
Points to consider while choosing a cloud provider for your product
The first and the foremost aspect is to choose between IaaS, SaaS, PaaS. Your Product’s tech lead should be able to guide you with this
Next is to find if the cloud provider can offer the required database support
Cost is a crucial aspect and that is one of the main reasons why cloud technology even exists. Based on the requirement of the product, you need to choose the one that can provide reliable services at an efficient cost.
Hashedin being an advanced AWS partner has been using and providing professional support on AWS and its products for most of its customers. Heroku is also considered for quick and small-scale applications that need to go live immediately.
Launching a machine on the cloud server
After taking the right decision in choosing the cloud provider, the next task is to launch a machine in your cloud account. This task shouldn’t ideally take more than a couple of hours as the cloud is powered with great UI for launching and handling a server on the cloud. Your machine should be immediately up and run once launched.
While launching a machine consider the size, memory, operating system, cost, and scalability. A lot of your products’ performance would majorly depend on your machine’s configuration.
Installing necessary software on the server
As a one time task, your tech lead might want to install a few necessary software such as the web and/or application servers, frameworks, software etc.
This task should be straightforward like working on a development machine as cloud providers offer you great command line interfaces (CLI) to login to your machines and perform operations.
Build your product on the server
Once the setup as mentioned in the previous steps are complete, it’s time to build/deploy your application.
You should be able to transfer a version of your product from your revision control to the cloud machine and build it on the right path. Or, If you have a CI or a built distributable of the product you may move them to your web/app server’s location.
Launch your application
Now your product must be ready for launch, and just before you actually launch it, verify your database connections and external integrations if any. Once all of them are ready, it’s time to launch and serve it over the cloud for your users.
Your application should be served over a public IP on a specific port, in addition to this, your cloud server should allow you to map your custom domain from your cPanel account, enabling custom domain redirection.
All the above tasks should ideally consume less than a day in empowering the quick launch of software products without any hassle.
Also note, these steps help you quickly launch a product on the server assuming you have a standard level of product setup and integrations. In case your product demands additional integrations, it might consume more time depending on the integration and the cloud server.