SaaS EXPERIMENTS

Growthbox works closely with a full-fledged market research agency and, have been delivering analysis and data reporting tools for various research managers at the client end. With the growing demand for online users, the need for a complete research management system was evident, which would include survey programming, data analysis and reporting along with a data visualization module with workflow capabilities.

The plan was to build such an application that would substitute SPSS editor online with an option to read external SPPS files. With more research managers accustomed to SPSS files, the system made it convenient for such users, to import their survey data. With this, each manager could analyze and report using the application and exported out rich interfaced presentations.

The entire software will be built as a service, where research manager could use relevant features of the application for a stipulated time. The service will be ‘multi-tenant,’ meaning that one instance of the software can support multiple users across multiple companies. However, the solution is designed to maintain a high level of security.

How does the application deliver value?

The product delivers both hard, quantifiable benefits and softer, intangible ones.

The Quantifiable Benefits

  • Shared IT management: By pooling IT operations, data center management, application managers, and database administrator’s can all be shared across multiple users.
  • No maintenance: Because there is one application and no local software, companies avoid the headache of software upgrades or aging technology.
  • Shared Technology Infrastructure: By pooling usage across multiple companies, efficiency gains can be realized through better use of data centers, processing and data storage capabilities.

The Intangible Benefits

  • Best practice functionality: By upgrading one version of the solution centrally, every user, whether working for a Fortune 50 company or a start-up, can have access to the same leading capabilities.
  • Speed to implementation: Because the solution is delivered via the Internet, users can be up and running very quickly. While there is often some level of customization and preparation that is required, the start-up costs are dramatically lower than for a typical behind-the-firewall solution.
  • Freedom of choice: With a typical software installation, the cost of change is prohibitive. But with a SaaS approach, it is much easier to move from one solution provider to another. While this may not be good news for the providers, it is clearly a motivator to keep new functionality coming.
  • The ultimate benefit of a SaaS strategy, however, is a faster ROI on technology transformation. While the process change costs may be the same, the set-up costs are substantially reduced and the fixed costs of software, hardware and hosting are amortized over the life of the solution as an expense, improving return on invested capital as well.

What kinds of companies benefit most from SaaS?

While any company can potentially benefit from a SaaS strategy, it is particularly applicable to companies with the following characteristics:

  • Companies with many divisions, particularly across extended geography. The process of migrating an extended enterprise to a new solution platform is daunting. With a SaaS approach, those divisions that can benefit from the change do. Those that don’t need to change don’t. And because SaaS is delivered over the Internet, connectivity is via a web browser. Training can be delivered the same way.
  • Diversified companies with specific needs: In companies that compete in many sectors, a single division or group of companies may need a specific application. For example, if the company’s typical route to market is through distributors and resellers, there may be a broad need for a partner relationship management solution. But if a group of business units within a company sell directly to retailers or end customers, they may need a customer relationship management solution. SaaS provides an economical and flexible model for meeting diverse divisional needs.
  • Fast changing companies. SaaS is a perfect solution in today’s world of acquisitions and divestitures. When you buy a company, simply move them to your SaaS applications. They are quickly integrated from both a process and technology perspective. When you sell a company, they can afford to continue doing business the current way by simply securing their own SaaS arrangements, often with the same provider.
  • A startup capability: A new process may be launched within a specific industry vertical. A SaaS solution provides a way to understand the solution, measure its value and forecast its long-term importance before making a substantial investment.

According to AMR Research, 26 percent of companies are considering a move to SaaS. And according to Gartner, 30 percent of all software usage will be on a SaaS basis in the next five years.