SAAS and the power of Partners
Not all SAAS vendors and partners are born as SAAS but in fact most of them are evolving into SAAS and hence both the SAAS vendors and partners need to recalibrate their ways of working as they move into SAAS mode. Its no news that SAAS is everywhere and is only bound to percolate further, ever increasing market size and all the analyst reports concur on the same. As with any business model, partners play significant role in SAAS too. The role played by partners and the extent of their involvement in conventional business is way different in SAAS. Partners in SAAS helps vendors to effectively and efficiently Search for opportunities, support in sustaining and scaling the implementations.
Partners are effective and Efficient Search Light for SAAS Vendors:
With SaaS, resell is no more the model of choice and instead its collaboration with partners to sell which is termed as “co sell”. Partners, typically SIs have deep insight into customer landscape, dynamics and importantly visibility into evolving direction. This is wealth of information for SaaS vendors to help them evaluate the opportunities which is possible through collaboration with partners. Vendors should take a step ahead and equip partners with the sandboxes / trial environments so that partners can try it out for their customers and show value to them. This approach will cut through all the flab of the sales cycle and also customer is in safe hands of an able partner to ensure customer success. In the SaaS Model, partners are not an afterthought or get involved post sale but in fact they are all along from the day lead is identified till sale and will even continue after the sale to ensure customer success.
Customer Sustenance and Success driven by partners:
At the outset, it appears as though the role of partners is diminished in SAAS model as SAAS tends to operate in commodity mode which means that product is matured, and hence it really does not need partners intervention to handle it for customers. It’s true that Products offered in SAAS mode are matured but they are matured within the scope defined and any incremental expansion or subsequent change in scope which is natural with time requires support and that is best served by partners. It’s natural for customers to adopt the product initially as is but change is inevitable, and customers tend to customize and adapt and that’s where partners have an important role to play. Role of partners might not be obvious in the initial implementation, but it becomes critical with time as SaaS vendors are more focused on product improvement in general and not specific customer that being the forte of SaaS model. Partners complement the SaaS vendors to take care of specificity for customers which increases with time and has solid impact on customer success.
Scaling is key success factor for SAAS and that’s powered by partners:
Volumes are critical for success of SaaS and volumes come with scale. Achieving scale is one part of it and sustaining it is another, which can only be possible with continuous handholding of customers. Focus of SAAS vendors is on continuously to improve the product in general and hence major spend is consumed by the same than servicing the customers which is not only an opportunity for partners but also results in win -win – win for Vendors – customers – Partners. Partner’s role in initial implementation may be minimal but they play a key role to sustain the customers in long term and thus ensure customer success.
Partners have the unique position of being search light for vendors and trusted advisors to customers which make them play a perfect role of brokering between SaaS vendors and customers starting from sales cycle to implementation and post implementation. Partners have critical and importantly sustained role in success of SAAS vendors. – Nataraj Sirisilla