I’ve noticed a growing trend among Asia Pacific organizations over the past 6-12 months: complete IT resistance to SaaS has steadily given way to more pragmatic discussions, even if IT has come to the table grudgingly. Over the next two years I expect this trend to accelerate. In fact, I believe that many SaaS solutions, particularly those that cross business and functional boundaries, will be rapidly subsumed within the broader IT portfolio, even if they were originally sourced outside IT.
Many SaaS vendors report already seeing more IT involvement in procurement, requirements definition, RFP creation, and negotiations. The clear procurement guidelines published by the IT department of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) is one high profile example. Don’t get me wrong, in most instances business decision-makers will still lead, particularly in identifying the required business processes and determining how best to consume SaaS-based services. But IT decision-makers are getting more involved, particularly around integration.
Some areas to consider as you look to work more closely with business decision-makers to evaluate and negotiate SaaS and other public cloud deals:
"Logan: That's the way things are. The way things have always been."
In Redwood City this week, the answer I heard from Oracle was an emphatic yes. At Oracle's Industry Analyst World, the company stressed its cloud bonafides against Salesforce, IBM, and SAP with its new Customer Experience (CX) Suite. The CX Suite is a horizontal offering, assembled primarily from acquisitions, newly rechristened as Oracle Marketing (Eloqua), Oracle Commerce (ATG, Endeca), Oracle Sales (Oracle CRM On Demand), Oracle Service (RightNow), Oracle Social (Collective Intellect, Vitrue, Involver), and Oracle Content (Fatwire).
The Software as a Service (SaaS) suite promises to deliver a lower total cost of ownership, easier integration, and faster time to value for a business looking to streamline its enterprise software providers. While Oracle's approach is to lead with SaaS, it also promotes an Enhance, Augment, Migrate strategy, enabling existing customers to extend an on-premises deployment --- think Siebel Loyalty --- with one or more CX products, say Eloqua's email delivery capabilities.
You Can Outrun Your Past
So what does it mean for Eloqua? Marketers using or considering Eloqua should recognize that Oracle:
A little while back Martin Thompson at the ITSM Review wrote an interesting blog on the complexity of IT service management (ITSM) tool pricing: http://www.theitsmreview.com/2011/09/ouch-o-meter/…I particularly liked his term "ouch-o-meter." It’s well worth a read.
It's something that has continued to puzzle me – what it would cost to buy AND implement an ITSM tool, PLUS any process or people-based change via professional services or third-party consultancy? Oops, I nearly forgot support and maintenance there too. To make matters worse, this is potentially an unknown and unbudgeted for cost that appears every 5-7years due to tool churn if us analyst types are to be believed (I have an outstanding action to include ITSM tool churn-related questions in a survey). But we need to park the churn issue for now and focus on cost or, more specifically, pricing models.
What did an ITSM tool cost in 2008? Or how long is a piece of string?
I cast my mind back to when I started as an industry analyst in 2008 and the complexity of not only which tools/applications, modules, or features needed to be costed-in but also the 30-50% "surcharge" for the professional services and 20-22% for support and maintenance. Then of course we needed to apply volume-based discounts and maybe something else based on the "customer-logo-appeal," the customer’s sourcing and vendor management strength/capabilities, and/or the sales person's need to hit quota at that point in time. I've probably oversimplified this too, feel free to educate me.