For a good ten years, the subjects of online services, the Cloud, and related topics have been a fixture of the local tech scene. Based on the pointed thesis „Tradition is not a business model“ from Prof. Dr. Winkelmann, EASY experts Marcel Rosenbaum, Sascha Löwer, and Thomas Cziesla posed the question, „What are the challenges and opportunities for the business model of EASY partners?“ during the „Online Services“ workshop. Together with around 20 partner participants, they discussed and debated the subject of what an EASY partner company needs to do if they want to be the provider of an SaaS solution in the future.
XaaS – challenges and opportunities
Sascha Löwer described one essential viewpoint by stating that a change in the price model and hosting of software is far from sufficient for offering a Cloud solution.
Quite the opposite: a changed business model must be the core of the transformation to an XaaS (Everything as a Service) provider. The abbreviation XaaS indicates the possible strategy adjustments discussed in the workshop. The focus is very clearly shifting to subscription business models. The software solutions are loaned or leased as services to the customer with flexible terms. As an aside, these business models are on the rise not only in IT, but in almost every technology-driven industry.
First, Marcel Rosenbaum (SVP – EASY ENTERPRISE SERVICES) again presented the understanding of EASY as a central Cloud-based toolkit for the creation of solutions for the efficient optimization of document-intensive business processes with the EASY CLOUD Platform. This was followed by a Q&A session on the specification, capabilities, and functions of the CLOUD Platform. Armed with this knowledge, participants were able to devote themselves to the workshop under the moderation of the EASY experts Marcel Rosenbaum, Sascha Löwer, and Thomas Cziesla.
XaaS solutions as the future
In the further course of the workshop, the goal was finding and discussing joint answers to three key questions:
- What will happen to our traditional business model?
- How do we prepare for the XaaS model?
- What will successful companies of the future look like in the XaaS field?
After initial considerations, the group and the moderators really got into the flow intensely, contentiously, and frequently in agreement, and were able to come to some essential conclusions.
Split up into three groups, participants discussed the subject from three perspectives. What does “online services” mean for the areas of strategy & financing, product management & services, and sales & partner sales?
After three 15 minute periods in the Worldcafe, interrupted only by a coffee break, selected sponsors of the three groups summarized the results with subject tables and prepared for a presentation of the findings the next morning. Summarized briefly: Each of the areas mentioned is more than just affected by a change to the XaaS model. Rethinking is called for. Here are a few select insights into the insights gained:
Strategy & financing (excerpts)
- Following the idea for the XaaS solution, the revision of the business plan is the most important thing
- Definition of a target market and go-to-market
- Set-up of financing and estimation of a profitability period
- Decision on the placement in the company. Important questions arise: Do I place the XaaS solution in the current business, or do I outsource? Or should I perhaps found a new company altogether?
- Planning of necessary resources
Product management and services (excerpts)
- Definition of the product portfolio
- Definition of core and additional functions
- Planning of packaging and pricing in coordination with the business plan for profitability
- Obtain information about competitor offers
- Create market demarcation
- Definition of required services in the pre-sales phase, the lifespan phase, and in support
Sales and partner sales (excerpts)
- Consideration of other sales channels, such as online selling
- Creation of partnerships and cooperations
- Increased use of social selling and search engine optimization (SEO)
- Change of the sales orientation and sales pay
- Focus on benefits and outcome selling
- Long-term retention of the customer by the provider. Key account managers remain important.
- Generate growth via up- and cross-selling
We would like to thank the sponsors of the subject tables Louis Brandenberger, Thomas Bürger, and Sebastian Kitte for their commitment in the Worldcafe and for the presentation of the results to the assembled partner forum. The applause from all participants was more than justified and should certainly be seen as approval of the prepared results.
Thanks to all participants –and always bear in mind, “Tradition is not a business model.”