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It’s the Service, stupid!

You use software that does a specific job, don’t you? A spreadsheet for number crunching, presentation software for what are still termed slideshows, a word processor for letters, perhaps a mail client to manage your email. Specific tools for specific jobs.

But all of those jobs, and many more, can now be done easily through one piece of software – a web browser. Think of Google Apps – it’s in essence a toolset you may have once been more familiar calling MicroSoft Office. And rather than having to buy, install and then patch, and then pay to upgrade software, you just point, click and go. This is often called Software as a Service (SaaS).

This is radical

What makes SaaS radical (affecting the fundamental nature of something) is not the fact that you don’t need to buy and install a whole lot of software that’s going to need upgrading and re-installation, or that you can store your data so that you can access it easily on almost any device. Those things are new, and they’re great benefits, but it’s not where the really important news lies.

  • What’s really important is the fact that you now pay for this service as and when you need it. And you can stop paying when you don’t need it. So the pressure to be very, very good at delivering that service (so that you don’t ever want to change provider) is very, very high. So as a result, you get great service, and at increasingly lower and lower cost. You are no longer buying software – you’re paying for a service. You choose the company with the best service for your needs. And if the service is poor, you can just change provider.

There is no escape

In a situation where you are tied to a particular provider because they have proprietary standards, you just can’t escape. You need to keep paying for what might be terrible software. But you’re stuck with it. That was the old model of software, and thankfully, it’s largely history. However, when it’s delivering quality of service that drives a business, and that’s the real differentiator, then you, as a customer, will benefit. Because the provider has to really try very, very hard to provide an amazing service – especially when swapping to another provider is easy, fast, and frictionless.

That’s why, when I market the service that EnergySys provides – which does a very, very specific job (production allocation and reporting of oil and gas production) I focus on the fact that we just deliver results. Nothing but results. Sure, you don’t need new hardware and you don’t need to install any software – you use a browser, log in, and go. So far, so SaaS.

  • But where we make the difference is in the quality of the service, the reliability and flexibility of the service, and the great support. It’s all about the service.

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