A customer’s success is imperative!

ZDNet’s Phil Wainewright talks about how the success of a customer’s adoption is imperative to the success of an online service that operates in the SaaS business model.

Compared to standard permanent-license, on-premise implementations of enterprise software, SaaS definitely seems to be the correct solution to common woes.

Apart from all the inherent benefits of online delivery, one of the key differentiators is that in an on-premise software license model, the customer has typically paid for the software (The License) before it enters his premises. The software must then be customized to his business application, maintained, his users must be trained on it, and finally his entire Enterprise supposedly “shifts” to using it live.

In all my years in the software technology industry (I’ve been around) I’ve never really seen an implementation really “succeed” this way. At least from the point of view of the end customer, they never really got what they expected – a solution to their problems. What they got were endless delays and, if they were lucky enough to have paid for it, they got technical support.

The SaaS model is pretty much diametrically opposite to all this. In the online delivery model, the customer “checks out” the application (typically himself/herself), decides to try it out, brings in a few key users, and tests the system, directly.

SaaS providers should realize this (just as the Service-now team has) and welcome these early customers. It is in the interest of the provider to ease the entry of the customer into the platform and facilitate the adoption of their service.

As customers begin to use the service, the more benefit they realize from it, the more they will encourage adoption from their organization.

It really is this simple – a SaaS service can only succeed if it’s customers do. And as the service-now VP of sales says, each and every customer of theirs is referenceable.

What your customers (existing and otherwise) say about your service is always going to influence your presence in a market much, much, more than what any PR, advertising or promotional activity can get you.

A customer’s success is vital.

Rob Luddy should be proud. And justly so.