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Archive for the category: Cloud Channel

Cloud Channel Challenges | SaaS Channel Compensation

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Retail Solution Provider Association annual thought leadership summit on the challenges faced by channel partners and vendors in the transition from purchased software and hardware to a recurring revenue service model. Not unexpectedly, one of the hottest topics on the agenda was SaaS channel compensation. In particular, how can SaaS vendors expect their more modest channel partners to absorb the up-front costs of customer acquisition and on-boarding when the SaaS vendors have trouble doing it themselves?

saas channel homer

The SaaS subscription model shifts risk from the customer to the vendor.
Shifting too much risk back onto the SaaS channel
lands the SaaS channel partner between the proverbial rock and hard place.

A Game of Risk

The SaaS subscription model shifts risk from the customer to the vendor. SaaS vendors promote low-risk free trials, entry-level subscription plans, and bundled on-boarding, whereas enterprise software vendors expect big up-front license payments and professional services fees. In fact, it is common practice in enterprise software to promote and sell a product before it is completely built or even started. Not so in SaaS. The risks don’t go away though, they just get shifted away from the customer back to the vendor. The SaaS vendor must make big up-front investments in R&D, customer acquisition and on-boarding just like the enterprise software vendor, but it often takes well over a year to recover these costs. If the product fails to live up to expectations; the SaaS vendor is left holding the bag, not the customer.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Enter the channel. Read more »

Hey SaaS Experts : What’s Your Cloud Computing IQ?

I’ll say it again: SaaS is NOT cloud computing. As the industry rushes to embrace cloud computing, too many SaaS experts and vendors are simply updating their marketing messages with cloud buzzwords. This is not enough.

When I started this blog, the biggest challenge faced by SaaS vendors was getting our heads around the new lightweight paradigm for marketing and selling an on-demand Web application versus the heavy-handed direct sales approach of traditional enterprise software.

SaaS vendors with high cloud computing IQ’s
recognize the cloud as the new channel.

Today, a new challenge is arising. However, this time the threat comes not from the past, but from the future. Just as SaaS vendors have found their Internet footing, cloud computing is destabilizing the very ground beneath our feet. Depending on your SaaS business, cloud computing could impact everything from application architecture to channel strategy. Or, it may not affect you at all. Either way you should know. What is your cloud computing IQ?

The Cloud is the Computer

John Gage’s prophetic remark “The Network is the Computer” beautifully highlights the difference between SaaS and cloud computing. While SaaS applications provide on-demand services to millions of users across the Internet, cloud applications provide on-demand services to millions of other applications across the Internet. The network really is the computer.

Why should this matter to SaaS experts and vendors? Two reasons. Read more »

SaaS Channels | Cloud Channels Will Follow the Money
The emerging PaaS channel opportunity

SaaS channel partners have definitely received the short end of the stick compared to their software channel counterparts. With a few notable exceptions like Salesforce.com, Netsuite (and largest, but least recognized as SaaS, Google AdWords) there simply have not been enough customers or enough work to engender a thriving ecosystem of SaaS channel partners, at least not when compared to the sprawling extent of enterprise software channels. I think this is about to change.

Channels Always Follow the Money

There is one universal law that governs all channel management: CHANNEL PARTNERS MUST MAKE MONEY. The biggest channel mistake made by many a SaaS start-up CEO is to fall into the fantasy that SaaS channel partners are there to help your business. They are not. They are there to help themselves. And, how much money they can make boils down to a very simple formula.

SaaS channel money = SaaS channel value-add x SaaS application customers

And right here is the rub. Read more »