CIO skepticism

From SaaScon, a US conference on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Phil Wainewright has been blogging about CIO Skepticism. The CIOs participating in a conference session were apparently dismissive of some SaaS vendor claims, and judged SaaS propositions in the same way as on-premises propositions. They also dismissed some claims:

  • It’s not any easier to implement and use. Nor should it pretend to be.
  • Vendors should stop harping on about how, if you don’t like a SaaS solution, you can just unplug it and go elsewhere. That’s ludicrous.
  • The cost model is not necessarily any better. Customers amortize upfront costs anyway.
  • On-demand vendors shouldn’t bother to portray themselves as partners in achieving business results. They’re just software vendors selling products.

Not surprisingly, some of these claims are contested by other SaaS champions in the comments section of Phil’s blog. I would add my support on the partnership front.

In my experience – marketing collaboration solutions (AKA ‘extranets’) in the UK architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) market – traditional contractors, consultants and project managers have themselves worked closely with their technology vendors to develop new services, wrapped around the software solution, that differentiate them from their competitors.

This can only be efficiently achieved if they work with the software vendor – the latter are not “just software vendors selling products”. The leading vendors also provide consultancy services, combining technical knowledge with a detailed understanding of the AEC industry (I often stress the final ‘S’ of SaaS).

Moreover, the continued competitiveness of the leading vendors’ solutions is also dependent on them working closely with their customers and understanding their constantly evolving needs. The stark division between customer and vendor, between product and service, is, therefore, inaccurate. The relationship more symbiotic, delivering mutual benefits.

tags: SaaS, AEC, extranet, collaboration, UK

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