What’s an SaaS vendor to do?

SaaS vendors who also sell on-premises versions have a tricky little problem, Claudia Imhoff says. How do they sell both at the same time?

A few people from SaaS vendors who attended Claudia’s Tuesday session mentioned two strategies: One is to separate the sales forces, with one selling the on-premises version, and another selling the online version.

These vendors could also sell the shareware way: let the online version be the lighter, simplified one. Let the on-premises version include all the extras.

They better figure it out. Right now, she says, there are just too many SaaS vendors in the market.

2 comments

  1. Thanks for the update on Claudia’s TDWI speech.

    She’s right, there are a lot of people calling themselves SaaS BI vendors in the marketplace at the moment. I think the market is going to start asking “What does a SaaS BI vendor *really* look like?” soon.

    And I think that they’ll discover that there aren’t really that many true SaaS BI vendors. If you’re selling both SaaS BI and on-premise, you’re in a tough position. (I was at Siebel when they tried to sell both on-premise and on-demand CRM, and it was not pretty.)

    But the “on-premise vs. on-demand” tension is only one part of the equation. The other part is – what do customers really need from a SaaS BI solution?

    If you’re selling pre-packaged reports with no in-depth BI functionality like ad hoc querying, or if you only connect to a few limited datasets or data sources, you’re probably not meeting the full range of what customers need and expect from a solution.

    My opinion is that when a prospect hears “SaaS BI,” they’re really hearing “full-fledged BI that’s cheaper and easier to use.” The SaaS part is a technology point that gets you to the business value. Those who can deliver that business value will thrive.

  2. Ted Cuzzillo says:

    Good points. Thanks.

    For the record, Claudia talked about this not in a speech but while rushing from the conference to a taxi, luggage in tow. She was thinking on fast-moving feet.

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