I ran across a really cool post from gianpaolo pertaining to his work on service delivery platforms.  The model is clean and expressive.

I wonder, though, if there is a variation between ‘pure’ SaaS companies and companies that use SaaS to extend their normal offerings?

I ask because the business services depicted in Gianpaolo’s diagram appear to be tuned towards companies that already make a good bit of money doing something, and want to ADD the ability to offer SaaS services to their product line.  Not pure SaaS players.

Why would I say that?  Because the business services depicted don’t include customer relationship management. 

Perhaps Gianpaolo was offering examples of the business services that would be provided.  That is entirely fair.  However, if you wanted to include the ‘basic set’ of services, in a model, and you were to leave off the customer (in this case, the Service Subscriber), then you would have missed a key part of the sales process: bringing in the leads and getting them to sign on.

No business is complete without the CRM process, whether it happens in a Rolodex, Outlook contact list, ACT!, Dynamics CRM, or Salesforce… you need a CRM to bring in business, track the customer activity, and offer follow-up products and services.  Every business… even the SaaS providers.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

2 thoughts on “The business services of SaaS”
  1. Agree.

    On one hand, you could say that it is included in the "Marketplace" box in the diagram. On the other hand, you could imagine companies managing the sales process "out of band", through channels, telesales, even direct sales using an existing CRM system.

    Should the SDP offer their own CRM? should they integrate with "popular" one (salesforce.com, crm live, siebel…)? should they "white label" them? I am not sure it is such a clear choice.

    –gianpaolo

  2. @gianpaolo,

    Thank you for responding.

    I believe that the company that delivers SaaS services needs CRM to do their business.  (I am specifically agnostic to the notion of offering CRM services… I am only talking about a key element of their delivery platform).

    Your model illustrates different areas of business capability that must be built into the service delivery platform.  You do NOT specify if those areas should be met by a COTS package or a service, nor is it altogether an important question.  

    The fact is that a marketplace is required.  Doesn’t matter if the service provider installs "marketplace software" on their servers or if they buy "marketplace services" from another company.

    They need a marketplace.

    Similarly, a service delivery business needs Customer Relationship Management.

    Inside Microsoft Live Services, elements of CRM have been developed as a key part of our own delivery platform.  It would be silly to propose a platform for our customers that is missing elements that we both recognize as required and have written software to meet.

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