SAAS VENDORS – ARE YOU DOING THE MATHS?

Getting to market is one thing

But to stay in it you need to maximise your customer lifetime value

And it’s all about doing the MATHS

MAINTAIN

As computing pioneer Maurice Wilkes said, “We found…it wasn’t as easy to get programs right as we had thought”

You’re going to have bugs and they need to be fixed

So be transparent

Admit your faults and get them sorted

AUGMENT

Each release is just a line in the sand

There will always be more to add to keep wowing the punters

TRAIN

Tutorials, training courses, mentoring and more

Teach your customers how to maximise the value of their purchase

What’s the point of creating a feature if hardly anyone uses it?

HELP

I once wrote over 4,000 individual files for a help system

It’s a dull, boring and truly tedious job

It’s also ESSENTIAL if your users are going to be able to help themselves

SUPPORT

Don’t hide from your customers

Give them the support they need to solve their problems quickly and efficiently

Forums, online chat, email, phone staff…whatever

Use as many channels as you can to help them

All your customers want is for your software to solve their problems

Making the platform is the hard bit

It would be a shame to muck it up post sale


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GIVE YOUR CUSTOMERS THE ★★★★★ TREATMENT

#SAAS vendors make subscribing to their platform easy

But too many make it EASY TO LEAVE!

A monthly churn rate of ~2% means they’re replacing 1 in 4 customers every year

And replacing them is as much as 25X the cost of keeping them

Think how much they could save on marketing!

So much more to spend on development of the platform, right?!

NOPE!

More to spend on building their ECOSYSTEM

Because that’s what they’re selling

Once they’ve built their platform, they’ve addressed most of their customers’ immediate needs

Yes, they need to keep evolving, adding new features and updating the aesthetic

BUT…

IF WE’RE LOOKING AT THE TECHNOLOGY WE’RE MISSING THE POINT

New features might attract a few new customers

They might convince some not to leave

But it’s software as a #SERVICE

They need to do BOTH well

Their platform may be brilliant

But without good help, education and high quality post-sale support, it may remain a mystery to their customers

And IF THEY CAN’T PLAY, THEY WON’T STAY

#SAAS should be like top hotel

Great rooms, fantastic food, excellent activities and superior service

Get them all right and guests will pay a premium for the experience

And they may just come back year after year


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DATA IS THE NEW GOLD

Your business is dependent on its electronic data

And if it isn’t yet, it will be soon

And that means your organisation is just one failed backup strategy away from oblivion

A tad dramatic?

Probably, but it’s also true!

And given the stories I hear, it’s a point worth making

Backup tapes stored in the boss’ desk drawer for safety

Or a manufacturer running for a whole year with an automated back up that failed every night

And no one checked!

And a large percentage of businesses that never test their backups because, well, you know, she’ll be right

This is the ‘Schrödinger’s Backup’ approach

It says, ‘The condition of any backup is unknown until a restore is attempted’

Now what was that about assumption being the mother of all something or other?

Anyway, whether the world is out to get you or not, you really need to…

DO YOUR BACKUPS

FOLLOW THE 3-2-1 RULE

CHECK THEY WORKED

ENSURE YOU CAN RESTORE FROM THEM

Do these properly, and you’ll have a fighting chance of bouncing back should the worst come to the worst

Get it wrong and you might be fighting for survival

You can read more about backups in my latest article for SmallVille

There’s a link in the comments

Now, be honest, are your getting you backups right?


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AI NEEDS YOUR HELP

Yes, #AI will help us and it will shift the job market

But it won’t turn in to HAL 3000, and we’ll be spared the flailing arms of Robot from Lost in Space

And C-3PO and R2-D2 will remain fictitious…at least for now

As Dr Mariarosaria Taddeo from the Oxford Internet Institute said, “…there is not a shred of proper research that supports the idea that AI can become sentient”

So, it looks very clever, but human clever it ain’t

#AI today is just maths and text parsing

It’s the evolution of existing coding techniques

So this means that AI has significant limitations and still needs a lot of help

So we’ll need to evolve alongside it if we’re going to maximise its value

There will be a skills shortage in the short term

Practitioners will be in demand and expensive

So you’ll need to upskill the team to help fill the knowledge gap

But what if you train them and they leave?

What if you don’t and they stay?

Consider then which you’d rather have

A good tool in amateur hands?

An average tool in skilled hands?

Or no tool at all?

I’d take the skilled hands every time, and when it comes to IT, so should you

And given the rate of technological change, the sooner you start, the better

Because the opportunity is NOW


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7 VIRTUES OF IT

7 Virtues

The more virtuous you are, the more your team and customers will love your business

Efficiency, morale and your customer lifetime value will increase

Wages, marketing costs and customer churn will reduce

It’s a simple equation

Performance goes up and expenses come down

So the virtuous can enjoy a superior profit per person

There are 7 VIRTUES to aspire to

VALUE

Understanding the true value of IT is paramount if you’re to fully embrace its capabilities

INVESTMENT & INNOVATION

Buy or build tools to deliver efficiencies and help you stand out in your market

REGULAR REVIEW

There’s a technology revolution going on all around us, and new opportunities become available all the time

TRAINING

Educate the team to improve productivity, and reduce staff turnover and interruption costs

USABILITY

Ensure your tools provide the features and deliver the outcomes and service your people both want and need

ENGAGEMENT

Encourage the team to get involved with technology and find ways to help your customers help themselves

STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT

Focus on your business and marketing goals to fully support the needs of the organisation, today and in to the future

So, are you virtuous?

Or will your sins find you out?


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WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?

It’s amazing what we miss when our focus is elsewhere

Last week I posted a video

The post was titled ‘BABY IN A SAUCEPAN’

The text even said to look out for them

They were on the screen for nearly 3 seconds

And yet I had people tell me they didn’t see either

They were focussed on me, reading the captions or whatever

This same scenario plays out in many places

It’s what makes being a #CEO or #CFO so hard

Lots of competing priorities that grab attention

So it’s easy to miss something in the background

Especially if it’s something you don’t ‘get’

IT is a bit like that

It sits in the background, quietly doing its thing

In the mid-tier, many business leaders give it a quick glance now and then

But no one really looks at it

What would you see if you looked at yours?

What would your team see?

What would your customers, partners and suppliers see?

WHAT WOULD I SEE?

I’d see opportunities

I’d see where you could improve your efficiency, morale and engagement

I’d see where you could create a better environment and deliver a superior profit per person

And who wouldn’t want all of those?

Especially if they paid for themselves

It’s amazing what can be hidden in plain sight

All you have to do is start looking


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MarshallFloyd – People and Technology – Download our free guide with over 100 tip, hints and ideas you can use to improve your IT.