We have been discussing the impact of SaaS on IT decision making as well as sales force adoption. It is clear vendors are working hard on the following questions:
- How do I make it easier for my customers to get my software in use and start getting value?
- How do I continue to provide value, while simultaneously (a) offering high business value innovation and (b) as little IT cost as possible?
Recently, HP and Microsoft announced they will be working together to simplify the software delivery model. This announcement, coupled with other options Microsoft offers, such as Windows Azure and Dynamics xRM, point to larger strategy Microsoft intends to use to offer a spectrum of options to customers. This spectrum ranges from on-premises and custom apps, to cloud-based apps built by 3rd parties on Pinpoint.
Other vendor examples include Salesforce.com’s AppExchange and Force.com platform. Oracle and SAP also have offerings.
What does this mean for someone interested in Pricing Applications?
It will no longer be “good enough” for an application to be conceived independently of these larger ecosystems. To offer a J2EE or .NET app is no longer enough. It is now critical to consider the various vendor ecosystems in the decision to buy.
Is my pricing system going to be an island that I have to integrate into my ecosystem? How much will that cost?
Does the vendor offer seamless integration into the ecosystem(s) I have chosen? Will my pricing system be a “good citizen” in my chosen ecosystem(s)?
Most importantly, which systems do my users prefer to work in? This question points to the larger struggle between users and IT, usability versus manageability, and conflict between ecosystems. This is most pronounced in situations where users work in Excel but the system of record for data is SAP.