Dear SaaS Provider: Users Expect More From Your Software. How Do You Respond?

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Over time, software products have improved; they offer a more intuitive user interface, better user experience, improved performance, and lower entry barriers, partially thanks to the modern cloud technologies/platforms.

In the “old days”, software applications could offer a table or an export to Excel capability and that was the whole analytic part of the application — but that’s not acceptable anymore.

Do what you do best and integrate for the rest.

The smartest are the ones that know their core competency and concentrate their resources there.

Modern software architecture makes it easier to integrate with and embed other technologies. SaaS providers should consider embedding other technologies in an OEM fashion for areas outside their expertise and instead focus on delivering a rich set of capabilities to their users.

Many technology device companies employ this strategy to some degree. They own the intellectual property — the design, the software, etc. — but contract out the manufacturing. This strategy is being taken to a new level when we look at Fisker, one of many new electric vehicle companies ramping up to begin selling cars.

The traditional automobile companies own most of the production. Yes, they include parts from other companies, but they own assembly and delivery. Fisker can potentially challenge that paradigm in a big way by taking a bite out of the tech device playbook. Having already announced two major partnerships for developing their cars — Magna and Foxconn — they may just have lowered the barrier to entry so that the incumbent companies should be scared for their future.

This model can apply to software. “Do what you do best and integrate for the rest.“ Most software companies set out to solve a problem. Often that problem is a specific industry like healthcare and IoT or software for specific job functions like marketing or accounting. No matter what the use case, the founders start with an area of expertise, but along the way, they’ll have to incorporate features outside their core competency. How can you adopt a similar strategy?

OEM software components aren’t new, but they are changing. The mass adoption of cloud infrastructure is one of the major reasons for this change. Many are still just server-based OEM components because they were created to be deployed to on-prem data centers. But with the on-prem model disappearing rapidly, integrating third party or even just cloud components is becoming easier than ever.

Our focus at Qrvey is on the embedded analytics component of SaaS features. Pretty much all SaaS applications have an analytics requirement in one form or another. Most product managers offer static charts and think that’s enough, but in reality, that’s just scratching the surface. Users don’t want cookie-cutter charts anymore; they want to tailor reports to their needs. For a SaaS company, that means every one of their customers might want something a bit different.

Building a custom dashboard builder is not the core competency of too many SaaS companies, yet they all need it. Most BI companies are just server-based components for internal, on-prem use cases that don’t exist too often anymore. That’s why we’ve adopted a serverless approach to deploy into AWS environments for our embedded analytics solution. It’s not just about being the component SaaS companies need but also about developing for the future with SaaS companies in mind.

For more insights and opinions, follow me on Twitter.

Founder & CEO | Qrvey

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