Delivering bespoke solutions for Enterprise: the role of the SaaS 'service partner'
Written by Michael Smith on the 1st of March, 2018
Henry Ford is purported to have once said, ‘a customer can have a car in any colour they want as long as its black’.
This would be utopia for SaaS Chief Revenue Officers and investors, as selling a solution needs a greater investment in time, resource and sector specialisation than simply shifting a licence online.
However, engagement and growth in the Enterprise market changes the game. Building a business case in terms of a cost-benefit, improved efficiency or customer satisfaction comes at a price. The cost of this type of sale is measured not only in terms of consultative and development resource, but also time.
Which is why SaaS providers promote service partners as a way of delivering sector-specific builds and deployments, in order that they can mitigate the expense of hiring an army of specialists directly.
Channel partners are architects and builders of solutions, delivering significant ‘transformation’. This requires ownership, getting close to the client-organisation and delivering a seamless job, in the shortest possible time frame.
In our omni-channel world of digital customer support and help-desk, this is an imperative. Consolidating inbound, transforming ways of managing customer workflows and maintaining a single view of the customer are all broadly-held objectives.
However, making this work by sector requires a practical understanding of an organisation’s existing processes, technologies and working practices in order that we can customise software or build add-ons accordingly.
In the same way you remove walls to create an open-plan home, we add tools, applications and build integrations to remove internal silos and enable information to flow into agent interfaces real-time from across multiple functions. E.g. finance, CRM or fulfilment.
In short, a SaaS solution must be developed beyond its ‘out-of-the-box’ capabilities and using its API if it is going to become the interface across which other technologies can talk. In terms of people, it requires proper, meaningful on-boarding and ongoing support.
All this comes at an incremental cost but with far greater incremental benefits.
Co-Founder of Technology Service Provider, Appamondo.