How b2b2dot0 stacks up as a SaaS solution
Several weeks ago, Jeffrey Kaplan of ThinkStrategies published a challenge to Cloud Vendors for 2010 in eCommerce Times. I thought it would be fun to see how we stacked up against them, so here goes.
Mr. Kaplan believes that cloud vendors (companies that deliver applications or services over the internet) must:
- deliver strategic value, not just incremental cost-savings; (Done)
The irony here is that while we originally believed our solution was being positioned in the market as a “cost savings” solution, it turns out that that couldn’t be further from the truth. While there is no doubt that all of our clients are enjoying great efficiency gains in their internal operations (7x-10x return within 6 months of going live), the bigger value is the improved customer relationships that they’re building. In addition, providing an On Demand SAP Integrated B2B Order Management website enhances each of our client’s agility. They now have much more flexibility in their distribution strategies.
So I guess we’re Done with this requirement.
- avoid competing on price alone and further commoditizing cloud
services; (Still Challenged)
The biggest challenge we’ve had over the course of the last two years…at least when it comes to financial negotiations…is differentiating ourselves from generic hosting providers. We definitely need to do a better job articulating the value of: our IP, the monitoring and support services we provide, and our investments in evolving our service.
- convince enterprises to move more core business applications and
operations to the cloud; (Done)
By definition, every one of our clients has moved their core Internet B2B Order Management process to the cloud. Yeah for them!
- fend off escalating security threats to prove the cloud is a safe
place to put corporate data; (Done)
We do that in two ways. First of all, we don’t house any significant corporate data on our service. Everything of importance stays in SAP and we retrieve it as required. Secondly, we’ve already demonstrated that we have the infrastructure and procedures in place to fend off attacks.
- address growing integration complexities to show how the cloud can
complement legacy, on-premise systems and software; (Done Done Done)
We have to be THE poster child in the industry for a working example of a hybrid application! So much so, that our service is 100% totally useless in the absence of a production SAP system!
- resolve potential channel conflicts as more resellers, integrators
and other third-parties vie for a share of the market; and (Work in Process)
Since day one we’ve been conversing with potential channel partners. For whatever reasons (too many for this post), while they’ve all been interesting conversations, there really doesn’t seem to be a channel…other than our direct selling…for this type of On Demand application. Maybe that will change as we grow much bigger…or maybe we’ll grow much bigger if that changes?? :-)
- improve management visibility and governance to provide greater user
control and compliance. (Work in Process)
We’ve invested an awful lot of time and money creating a highly secure, reliable, available and serviceable infrastructure. That’s been evidenced by the performance of our service to date. In the coming months, we’re going to invest in the systems and procedures to make that transparent to all of our clients. I want them to see…and frankly, get credit for (see the commiditizing item)…the value we provide here.
Thanks Jeffrey for giving me yet another scorecard by which I can evaluate myself. All in all, I think we stack up pretty well, but we still have some work ahead of us in 2010.
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