In his keynote speech at SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 in Orlando, SAP’s CEO Bill McDermott stated that Software-as-a-Service is passé. What customers want now, and what SAP is promising to offer, is: Simple-as-a-Service.
I would like to argue you here that this is much more than yet another marketing tagline. It is in fact the cornerstone of what customers and technology providers will thrive for in the years to come.
Let’s deconstruct it to understand what lies behind Simple-as-a-Service.
Organizations want business outcomes
Pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Long gone is the time when organizations were looking to buy a set of products or services from their technology providers. Maybe in fact, this time only existed in the heads of the tech providers themselves.
Organizations more than ever are looking to buy answers to their pressing pain points, or to their changing competitive landscape.
A mayor wants to reduce gas emission in her city. A retailer wants to reduce price of goods. A marketing executive wants to create hyper-targeted promotions based on social media brand sentiment.
The way to get to these answers is not the heart of the matter anymore, and maybe never was. As the deployment and use of new technology has been tremendously simplified, any business unit within a company can now quickly and easily have access to powerful tools that will help find answers in real-time, and maybe even find new questions to ask.
Real-time is more than a nice-to-have
As Karenann Terrell, CIO of Walmart, said on stage at SAPPHIRE NOW: “any company in its technology organization that is not thinking about speed, is a company that is going to be disrupted from its position…Digitization is not just a buzzword. It is incredibly real to lower the overall cost, to get to real-time and to serve customers”.
It is true for huge organizations like Walmart, and even more for smaller companies that need to be agile and move real fast.
But here is the trick: real-time should not be used to do the same things faster. It should be used as an agent of change, to innovate and do things differently. Running a report in real-time instead of five hours does not mean more time at the coffee machine to discuss vacation plans. Well…you get the point.
SaaS is passé
It truly is. Whatever way your enterprise applications are deployed by your IT teams and consumed by your end-users, the critical element remains the business outcomes that your business derives from it.
When it comes to enterprise-grade applications, first and foremost you want them to be integrated so you can run reports and take actions beyond the siloes of your enterprise.
Maybe you want to go full cloud. Most probably you will want some of your applications in the public cloud and keep others on an on premise setting.
Whatever your chosen scenario happens to be, the business focus has shifted to ensuring that you have a clear path to insights and innovation, so you are not under threats of disruption by newcomers.
From a technological point of view, the critical decision point has evolved to the platform you choose to run your business on, the deployment strategy being one of the many factors to address.
Customer Engagement is the new black
The list would be incomplete without probably the most important element to consider: customer engagement. Throughout every steps of the cycle, organizations expect a simple engagement with their IT provider. They are looking for a quick way to get informed, buy, implement and consume their enterprise applications.
On the side of the IT providers, beyond the technology that they are developing, customer engagement can make or break deals. They have to get it right.
Simple-as-a-Service, as we discussed here, goes much beyond being just a motto. It is the promise winning companies of the future will have to deliver on.
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