SaaS Revolt

Topics: John Sumser, More2Know, by John Sumser

SaaS-RevoltSaaS Revolt

I’ve been talking to HR Execs over the last several months. I’m noticing something. There’s a change. We’ve crossed a line. Something’s up.

Here are some of the things I’ve heard:

  • I am tired of hearing that ‘getting it’ is better than ‘doing it’. When getting it means not doing it, it’s an expensive thing to get. Doing it makes it possible to get it in the first place.
  • I am extremely tired of investing my time and energy into free services that are supposed to make my life easier. They never do. And, I’m left drowning in the certainty that I no longer know what I am doing.
  • I am tired of crap that changes just as I am getting used to using it. Developers (all of whom are either smarter than me or think so) make up new ideas about how to use stuff faster than I can absorb the old ones. As soon as I start to get the new and improved way, there’s another newer and improveder way.
  • I am tired of free turning out to mean ‘ill-conceived’ or useless. The only part of free that is actually free is the part that doesn’t come directly out of my wallet. The weeks and months of learning stuff that doesn’t work or gets changed as soon as it does also comes out of my wallet in lost time and opportunity. That free stuff is really, really expensive.
  • I am tired of feeling like understanding the latest toy is preferable to getting my job done. Sometimes the tsunami of the new drowns out my memory of what I was doing in the first place. While I may not be suffering from ADD or Autism, I want to hide from the next new thing you want to tell me about.

There is a change going on. We’re doing our jobs differently. It’s as if we’ve all been growing up and then, when we weren’t looking, something turned us into adults.

All around, advertising performance is changing. Mailing lists aren’t working like they used to. The marketing world is talking about targeting and retargeting.

I think this all has something to do with the maturity of the Software as a Service (SaaS) approach to delivering value.

Right now, SaaS Salespeople feel perfectly comfortable selling their ability to update software across the user base as a benefit. The SaaS business model only works when all customers use the same iteration of the tool. From one perspective, this offers the ability to innovate with amazing agility. From another perspective, features are produced without any friction.

The result is the sort of chaos that comes from an ever changing goal line. While agility is important, organizations resist change for a reason. Too much change, too fast is disabling. The problem with poorly implemented SaaS installations is that they destroy an organization’s ability to build on what it has learned.

In an enterprise setting, some of the randomness of rapidly evolving functionality is staved off by contract cycles and installation agreements. In the consumer markets, however, eternally new software, which must make developers happy, ceasely erodes the ability of the marketplace to move ahead.

The crack in the mirror is becoming clearer. Now that we have tasted unregulated change, we’ll start to hear about governing it.

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