One concept that has helped make us successful is that marketing is from Mars while IT is in an altogether different galaxy. Our advantage over the years has been our ability to use our handy-dandy Star Trek language decoder to translate communications between the two. Simply put, we speak both languages.
However, there is a technology subject that marketing should be paying attention to – SaaS. Software as a Service, is all about outsourcing applications to the WWW or cloud computing. This outsourcing concept has been around for awhile but the SaaS name is newer. When we first started building and hosting WWW based applications we were called an Application Service Provider (ASP). We all know some high profile applications. In the CRM space, Saleforce or Microsoft’s CRM On-Demand. In the mapping space, you have Google apps or our own mapping apps built on Bing Maps.
SaaS has moved far beyond these types of apps and into all aspects of an organization. The four biggest reasons for this growth, according to a survey of 131 business technology professionals at organizations using SaaS, conducted by Information Week are:
1. Speed to implementation – 3.9
2. Savings on capital expenditures – 3.5
3. Savings on operating expenses – 3.4
4. Better features compared with other “traditional solutions” – 3.3
(Scale: 1 = Not a factor to 5 = Major factor)
What SaaS can bring to marketing is applications that solve routine, repetitive processes. By breaking down a complex task into smaller parts, perhaps a process can be outsourced and results put directly into the hands of users. The concept is simple. Consider what is happening to phone book yellow pages. On-line mapping locators have yellow pages on the verge of extinction. The same locators also make a significant dent in calls to organizations for directions. One client told us that one of our applications reduced their sales support workload by 4,000 hours in the first year. By putting the results directly in the hands of the end-user, you save time and empower the user to make faster and better decisions.
How many sales support or marketing processes are sitting around in your organization that could benefit from a productivity shot in the arm? Or, could benefit from a SaaS approach that would cut time and put the information into the hands of the user? Consider some such as: e-marketing, marketing automation, surveys, reporting or business intelligence, demographic analysis and just good old fashioned data crunching.
How about sharing your experiences with SaaS.