Continuing the series of identifying major areas where Cloud Business performance can and cannot be improved based on analysis of our recent Partner consulting, recruitment and enablement projects with Cloud Partners globally from vendors including SAP, Oracle and Progress Software….
There is no doubt that when business does eventually resume globally it will not be “Business as Usual” it will be permanently changed in many significant ways. Here we explore 4 major impacts on digital business transformation that may, for many Cloud and SaaS based vendors, provide ultimately opportunity too.
(These observations have been based on many recent conversations with customer cloud vendors, channel partners and our own strategic partners in EMEA, APAC and the Americas too over the last 2 weeks.)
1 Acceleration towards Cloud and SaaS based solutions
Although the growth in SaaS and Cloud based solutions and vendor revenues* has been impressive the recent events will accelerate this change. Many vendors are either still developing or supporting enterprise level on-premise project developed applications. Short term many of these have been disrupted by cancellations of business travel and absence of key staff.
This has generated consequential impact on project delivery, cash flow and new projects. All these factors will have less of an impact on SaaS based solutions.
M& A activity is also sure to increase too. Vendors in transition will be looking to fast track to SaaS based solution and markets. Many vendors will be financially weakened and area prime targets at good prices. The PE and investment community will have been sitting on cash and ready to take advantage.
2 New generation of social media users and buyers
The demographic driving the advance of digital marketing and using social media has been mainly, to date, the millennials. The current crisis had forced many of the baby boomers ( business decision makers) to use social media ( think Zoom, House Party, Whats App) for the first time, socially, on a regular basis. This will change their behaviours for business, meetings and interactions too for vendors and customers alike. Yet for many end to end digital marketing campaigns are charting new approaches and the maxim “if you cannot measure it you cannot manage” it will be a barrier.
Some leading edge agencies are now offering true end to end RoI measurement* When business travel does resume the cost of travel is likely to go up at a time when many vendors will for costs reasons want to minimise T&E budgets, maybe reinvest in digital marketing?
3 Increased use of Partner channels
Partner channels have always been effectively an effective outsourced sales resource. One that is close to their customers by relationship, geography, language, culture, subject matter expertise and value add. The restrictions on travel combined with the need to reduce cost of sales will also widen and deepen the use of Partner channels.
The latest Softletter100© survey over 46% of SaaS and Cloud vendors were already working with Partners channels with a further 12% planning to do so. This trend will also accelerate. Note too that already before the crisis there were too many vendors chasing too few successful “ Born in the Cloud” Partners; already a case of excess demand over supply*
4 Upswing in on-line B2B generally “What if the shops never open again?”
A valid scenario for retailers given many businesses will fail anyway. Those that do survive will have seen a massive rise in their on-line business, which is sure to continue But what is the impact in other market segments? Financial Services, Manufacturing, Professional Services all will to a greater or lesser extent move towards on-line B2B. We already know that upwards of 70% of buying decisions are made on-line that figure will only increase.
Today millions of people in the IT industry are working from home; and if business lifecycle can be run effectively for several many months then the economic argument for making some of these changes permanent are compelling from the adoption of Dev/Ops, use of office space to 100% remote deployments
Finally think also on the impact on infrastructure and hosting as more business and Cloud vendors flock on-line. The DC capacity can be built and scaled but the level of support for ISV in all stages of Dev/Ops will suffer. Some new initiatives aimed at better supporting small and medium sized SaaS and Cloud vendors have just been launched in the UK for example*
A final thought
So for all major and unexpected impact on the strategic direction of future Cloud and SaaS based business, for many the old cliché “Success is the management of change” has never been truer! These impacts are of course irrelevant compared to the massive human and personal impacts so please – Stay safe