The world is moving at lightning speed today. People used to talk about doing business at the speed of the Internet and it’s clear we are already there. Change is the only constant, which has been attributed to Heraclitus, Isaac Asimov and others, is the only thing we can rely on.
Just look around at the world of business, academia and government. Everyday new products, services and ideas are emerging. Customer loyalties are shifting as frequently as the tides. Companies that were thriving a few short years ago, may be gone or struggling today.
Look at what’s happened to book stores. Borders declared bankruptcy and a lot of the smaller ones have closed. People are buying ebooks, listening to audio books or buying physical books from Amazon. When is the last time you went to a travel agent? Most people go online to Expedia, Orbitz or Priceline to book travel. How about using a traditional stock broker? We still use the post office, but email has replaced a lot of our correspondence – and more of it is in the cloud than ever before.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is growing because businesses need to change quickly. They need to keep up with their customers. Every week a new smart phone hits the market and more people are using them to find and make purchasing decisions. The term office worker is becoming outdated, since most people don’t sit in a traditional office anymore. Everyone is using mobile devices from laptops to smart phones and tablets for work and play.
Using traditional on-premise systems can’t keep up with the pace of business. It used to take 18 – 24 months to rollout a new ERP or CRM system. By the time you were done, the system was obsolete. No one can take the time to do that anymore. Business systems must be flexible and fast to implement. They must be accessible from Android phones, iPhones and iPads. They have to scale up and down quickly. They have to accommodate people at all times of the day and everyday, since business is international and doesn’t sleep.
Today, one of the largest SaaS companies is going public. Facebook has over 900 million users and many of us turn to it for our sales and marketing efforts. Workday, an HR management company, is planning to go public this fall. ExactTarget, an email marketing company, went public earlier this year. In fact, most of the IPOs today are for SaaS companies. That’s a lot of people using SaaS and expecting to have access all the time from anywhere on any device.
Organizations use Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and other outlets to drive business. They use Salesforce.com for CRM, Netsuite for ERP, DocuSign for electronic signatures and many other services for everything from invoicing to IT management. All of these are SaaS companies and we use them because they are innovative, let us get up and running fast and provide us with the flexibility we need to meet our customers’ demands. 10 years ago only 3 of these businesses even existed – you get to figure out who. Now many of the them are worth $1billion or more.
The consumerization of IT is blurring the lines between work and play. People are demanding the same rich application experience at work that they have in their personal lives. The old way of doing things is dying and SaaS is capturing more and more of all the businesses that will thrive in the future.
Are you thriving or stuck in a rut?
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