As the name suggests our keynote blog theme 'SaaS Entrepreneur' is intended for those launching new startups in the Cloud market.
It's actually a more general theme than that, not just limited to the SaaS category, it's simply that it's a catchy title and that category headlines by far the bulk of entrepreneurial activity in this sector.
Reflecting this broader consideration it will shortly be accompanied by an ebook 'The Cloud Ventures Roadmap', which will
- Highlight best practices and market opportunities for SaaS entrepreneurs, as part of ongoing analysis of the general trend of Cloud Computing, also covering other categories like IaaS and PaaS, sectors like enterprise computing, media and gaming. For example recently VentureBeat wrote how Microsoft has successfully transitioned from a software to a Cloud company, with hosting now accounting for 60% of their revenues and Azure sales growing 90%.
- Provide an ongoing catalogue of 'XaaS' solutions (UCaaS, NFVaaS etc.) as inputs to possible business model opportunities. For example a particular configuration of UCaaS for Healthcare.
- Co-author and share an opportunity landscape - Through ongoing analysis of venture deals we can identify specific trend categories, like AWS Cloud Management, and how key technology trends and step change advances can act as the lynchpin for new services, such as Virtualizing crypto keys. This will be updated through community feedback and inputs, providing an expert asset and also ideal method for building industry partnerships.
UCaaS is a powerful product set for any size of Cloud solution provider to offer, because it facilitates one of the most fundamental, staple units of modern work production for any and every organization, their basic telephony expanding through project collaboration and teaming methods.
Skype has now been long established as the ubiquitous Internet VoIP and video calling toolset, catering for the Free market upwards, and so naturally as you progress into more sophisticated requirements and scenarios like Enterprise and Healthcare, a more advanced set of services and features are required, the essence of the product segmentation exercise central to UCaaS market planning.
With messaging being one functional component part of a UCaaS suite then this means you can consider these dimensions, like how these social messaging apps scale to such large volumes and what interpersonal dynamics they tap into as well, are all key to identifying niche segments and product market fit.
Fuze describes how one feature of their service is that it can be integrated into apps like Salesforce.com and Gmail, highlighting examples of the types of features that then start to tailor it for specific customers like the Enterprise market.
UCaaS Market Insights
To further refine a product positioning exercise, a number of main industry trends, market needs and influencing factors can be considered:
- Technology - Trends like NFV won't be seen by end user customers or be important to their feature wish lists, but given it's essential, complimentary nature to UCaaS solutions, will become an increasingly bigger part of scenarios such as the Enterprise, as they too shift to SDN for their own networking. This relationship is described in this excellent, highly recommended UC Strategies blog, and NFV expert Tom Nolle shares an insightful product mapping, explaining the difference between Cloud Voice and NFV-based services.
- Security - Blackberry were criticized by Twilio for their recent move to release a Secure Messaging SDK market strategy, but it's not an inconquential idea given the refreshed view of messaging security and the likelihood of increased scrutiny in this area through policies like the UK's 'Snooper's Charter'.
- Enterprise Collaboration - The bread and butter of the sector is the core suite of tools for the small and large business market, and is naturally very aggressively contested by a number of major players, all continually bringing new features and innovations to market, such as Google launching Hangouts Chat, their competitor to Slack, revamping Drive with Filestream, and also enhancing it with encryption and data loss prevention features for the Enterprise market.
- Slackbots - The recurring theme for the Enteprise is the same one for Entrepreneurs - APIs and programmability. Ultimately the goal is to utilise telephony and collaboration functions to fulfil an overall business process of some kind, and new automation innovations synthesizing multiple tools together, can yield exciting new service capabilities such as integrating Slack chatbots with SAP enterprise systems, enabling this powerful trend to be applied to your organizations specific processes.
Transform Solution Selling
This combination of trends and capabilities offer intersections where a relatively simple technology offers powerful business benefits and potential for business transformation for key industry sectors.
For example governments are continually under pressure to optimize service delivery, to provide increased intimacy of citizen service while also cutting costs through optimization efforts and investments. The scenario of Kent County Council utilizing online messaging is a great example.
Kent improved service for online users while reducing the costs required to provide that customer contact. For governments the ability to store and audit these conversations are the kinds of regulatory, value add feature areas.