SaaS going BPO (Not the Microsoft E-mail thingy)

I get off one some few things I have to admit. Sometimes you have to share something personal – this blog entry is one of them. When technology combined with innovation, great design and entrepreneurship – helps customers increase productivity and decrease cost; ALSO helping the environment. I am sold. I get one of those Ferrari moments:

Someday, I gonna have one of those!

I have followed a Danish ISV for a bit now. A company called Tradeshift, just recently brough in Morten Lund, former member of Skype. What you will find from Tradeshift is that the purpose and way of doing invoicing will change radically. I have blogged a long period around how Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) will be the next stage after the SaaS era settles, and Tradeshift build some of the tools for this. Also I have blogged about ERP in the sky; first that it wouldn’t, finally to embrace that of cause it will and Xero, Twinfield and E-conomic proved the model.

Tradeshift is more a small- home office thing now; trust me, they will become enterprise. It will help anyone with the pain of invoicing, and transform paper into usable data; we followed OIOXML and other standards; so why should Tradeshift change? The world is a different place now. It becomes the innovators to build the standards, and when giants like IBM, AT&T, CSC and others build standard they look more on the enterprise big bowl of money, rather than to change the way we use software and services. This is why ISV are most likely to disrupt these giants in 5-10 years time; and why Tradeshift will survive.

Steve Ballmer said it; IT’s ALL ABOUT DEVELOPERS. Google did it. Apple brought it to the consumers and open source Cloud Computing services like Tradeshift, built on APIs and SDKs for the world to consume. We never know there Tradeshift will stop; it’s no longer the management in control. It online business at it’s beauty as now the consumers and users of the service control where the next hop will be.

Watch a great video on the project here 😉

I hope to help these guys in the future. I hope to build solutions and businesses around them, as I strongly believe in the philosophy of the solution and software. And as the projected is founded in Denmark I know the Key Success Factors (KSF’s) are in place; it is all up to execution now.

BPOS now running “for Office”

Microsoft made a smart move. Changing a set of the BPOS suite to fit only federal offices is a nice “marketing gimmick” that will make the adoption of BPOS in federal government grow. It’s a smart and strategic move in the war against Google. Not only did Microsoft already implement the structures and requirements in local data centers to meet US, APAC and EMEA requirements (read the annual report on social responsibility and protection of data), but labelling the exact services as “Microsoft Online Services for Federal” is just beautiful. Microsoft is doing exactly what we have been preaching the last 5 year: SaaS is about structure, operational effectiveness, volume – and finally – to be able to thing outside the box, and change the scope of the label.


Showing a Price tag? Use Graphics!

I often help our ISV portfolio on design and experience when dealing with online marketing sign-up pages for their application. Many ISV’s show me a price-feature table, let’s just say it often more complex than simple. Remember showing a price is also adding risk to the customers buying chain and decision to do so. This is due to people need of CONTROL when doing a purchase decision. Give the user control! Look at these examples:

Do you feel you are in control? Or even can you describe the final price? Not really, you have to be a technical buyer, but 1&1 may also chose to only present this table, to fit their segmented marked, being technical buyers.

Now look at this:

Yet it is the same table, it feels more easy and understanding right? Graphics are often better to use and leverage then show price markups and remember to embed Silverlight or flash graphics to even better the experience. If you NEED the complex price table, link to it from a simple table (advanced price table – read more here). Remember we are trying to serve different people, different markets, different feelings – and yet, we need to give the customer CONTROL.

Finally look at this:

Critics will easily say – but there is only one price! And that is exactly what the point is. If you have a complex price model, you will probably reach more revenue by changing your business model and price, and get a flood of users on the product. Don’t stick to the traditional roads; find your own model.