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.


  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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