It's about time.
Insights and musings about customer service and managing a SaaS software company

 

Archive for October, 2009

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Letting things grow at their own pace

October 31, 2009 by Yuval Brisker


Its always interesting to read Fred Wilson. A VC who seems to forever have a fresh take on his business, on the world around him, never losing the sense of wonder and at the same time looking at things critically.

I have been reading his blog for over 6 years….pretty much when he started writing it, and when I set off  on this phase of my professional life.  His words, thoughts, ideas, experiences have been a beacon of thoughtfulness, education and enlightenment in the process of building this business. His diligence over the years,  his total dedication and discipline in sitting almost EVERY single day and writing something interesting, actually made a difference in my life. Whether he’s written about the business, technology, family life, his family’s travel, food, politics and music – his sharing this his “Living in Public”, as he calls it, (citing a film he invested in about blogging and social networking) has definitely enriched my life and my thinking in ways that it’s impossible to account for.

This steadfastness is admirable and I am bringing up his blog and its affect on me because he most always seems to write something that resonates, that provokes me to think.  Today he wrote about something that as entrepreneurs we think about a lot. The exit. But he wrote about it, as usual, in a fresh way.

He called it Slow Capital, because it’s about recognizing that businesses like people, are very different from each other. Some burst onto the scene and make a point and are sold in a year; some take years to incubate and become ‘who they are’. Knowing which to push and which to cultivate over time seems to be part of the art of investing wisely. And indeed Fred writes this post as an homage of sorts to Warren Buffet and actually mentions him. Believing in taking time to build a business and in the potential of time to enrich it is the core notion of what Irad and I are doing here. Thanks Fred, you have a place of honor in the blog roll on the right here…Number 1.

TOA and PivotLink take SaaS Business Intelligence to New Heights

October 27, 2009 by Yuval Brisker


Last week, TOA Technologies and PivotLink announced a ground-breaking partnership to upgrade the Business Intelligence tools available to service providers who choose TOA for mobility solutions.

This is an exciting announcement for TOA because it represents full integration with another innovative SaaS vendor that takes our capabilities to a new high.

I am writing about this not just because I am proud of what we are doing with PivotLink and the value it brings to customers (which I am). I am highlighting this because this is further proof of how the power of the platform (the Internet platform, that is) manifests even more when you start “mashing up” great applications – enterprise grade applications like our and PivotLink’s –  to bring to market the combined strength of both, in this case an advanced BI tool in ETAdirect, TOA’s mobile workforce management SaaS application. The reality is that TOA would never want to develop this capability on our own and now we have it, and from our customer’s POV, it’s completely seamless and transparent. It’s part of the TOA app. Without them having to buy separate apps, deal with the different vendors and integration, etc. They just have it at their disposal all the gain, no pain.

Great news and more power to SaaS!

You can read the full release here: http://toatech.com/news/Press_Releases.html?top=24

The Eternal Value of Subscription-based Services

October 23, 2009 by admin


Here’s a post from our first guest blogger, my partner, co-founder and friend, TOA’s CTO – Irad Carmi:

I read a NY Times article last week about the value of the subscription model, which led me to the following thoughts:

Almost every item we acquire has an end-of-life built into it.   It may be a camera, a laptop, a shirt, a car. Buyers and sellers know that the product will expire/break and will have to be replaced at full price. Software is especially prone to this built-in obsolescence. You can either upgrade it for a lot of money, or one day you won’t be able to use it. Even if you upgrade the software you can reach a point where you can no longer use it.  Many software companies have been upgrading their products for decades, even though the hardware it runs on is no longer even being manufactured.

Imagine how nice it would be to have a subscription for a laptop or a car. Every month you get a brand new model. It never breaks, never gets outdated, and constantly improves.

As you figured out by now, that’s exactly what TOA and other SaaS vendors offer. And prior to this wave this was an unheard of approach in the enterprise software world. A continuously self-renewing solution, one which always runs on the latest hardware, using the latest technology, and gets better every day. The value of this ongoing incremental improvement is huge, and includes not only the price of upgrades and new hardware, but also savings on IT and training personnel, painless Change Management, and significant competitive advantage.

Gartner says that in two short years, by 2012, 30% of all customer service and support applications will be delivered on-demand.   SaaS has proven itself as a discontinuous innovation.  It’s been transforming the world of software for nearly a decade.   And those companies who don’t recognize it risk becoming one of the “Have-Nots.”

Despite long held beliefs…

October 22, 2009 by Yuval Brisker


They say you can’t go wrong buying IBM … that this is the common manager’s solution to a buying conundrum where a well known, more traditional technology or provider is pitted against a more innovative technology or a newcomer . But if you look at the evidence over time, it’s actually just as risky, maybe even riskier to NOT take the road less traveled and go for the new.

One of the common myths about SaaS is that because you pay an ongoing usage fee for as long as you use the software service, you actually end up paying more over time than traditional on-premise license based legacy software. Well, we at TOA, of course, have refuted that common ‘wisdom’ with all our customers, who ultimately ended up opting to go with us, to go SaaS.  But for many, that misguided notion still exists. And we can prove that it is in fact misguided. The long term benefits of SaaS are easily calculated, if you use a REAL calculator not tinted by those long biases.

A new survey by Forrester Research validates what we in the SaaS world have long known, namely, that Software-as-a-Service Can Save You Money — Even in the Long Term.

The Forrester Research basically says that SaaS pricing models may offer potential for better long-term return on investment (ROI) than on-premises solutions.

That…may come as a shock to some!

The report — based on surveys with SaaS-solution vendors and users, past inquiries, and case studies with clients of Hewlett-Packard, Salesforce.com, and Workday (a provider of on-demand human resources software) — identifies long-term benefit in three aspects of a SaaS initiative:

  • rapid deployment of applications, freeing enterprises from the need to buy hardware;
  • access to pre-configured or easily configured solutions that firms can turn on in days or weeks with minimal configuration; and
  • better user-adoption rates thanks to familiarity with the Web

Forrester also says that SaaS helps reducing the dependency on information technology and administrative  personnel and support — responsibilities that might otherwise have meant hiring more people or even outsourcing to external service providers.

Instead, SaaS providers often handle bug fixes and patches seamlessly.

I hate to be cynical about this – but for those who are not ‘onto’ SaaS yet…all this may come as a revelation… for those of us who are living and breathing this business 24/7 it’s just our life: We are Service Providers. And a Good Service Provider delivers a Good Service. For us that means all the above plus more. And the world is not just catching on…it’s there.

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