Potential: Revealed

Strategic Thinking, Innovative Ideas, Growth Marketing, and Revealing of Potential

Archive for cloud computing

Happy Customer

Here’s a two-fer: a customer of mine gaining new, happy customers. Making my customer, of course, happy too! See the customer reviews on Salesforce.com’s Appexchange (like on the “Review” tab). DecipherTech is a provider of sales analytics solutions, offering a truly innovative “cloud computing” datawarehouse application, delivered in a Software as a Service (SaaS)model. DecipherTech really applied the approaches I’ve been writing about (hopefully not too preach-ingly) over the past year about being practical with your strategy (so you can understand it and act quickly), defining your target market clearly (so you know where you want to go), and having focus and discipline in your marketing execution.

An interesting aspect of their business is offering their SaaS solution on Salesforce.com’s Appexchange. It gives access to literally millions of potential customers but also requires that customers can write reviews of your product for all to see — similar to the consumer world of eBay and Amazon, but relatively new and possibly intimidating, in the B2B world.

But if you are executing your strategy and business plans with confidence – you’ve got nothing to fear!

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Cloudy Thinking

Here’s an interesting way to think about Latent Value. And feel free to tell me if you agree or not!

The Latent Value of a business opportunity can be expressed as a function (think mathematics). Simply stated, Latent Value can be expressed as a function of the total Potential Value, the Cost to Unlock the Value, and the Divisibility of the Value. The latter two are related but I see them as distinct. If the potential value is high then a high cost can possibly be tolerated if the ROI comes out favorably enough. But often companies, being nothing if not pragmatic and conservative, will decide that if the potential value cannot also be unlocked in discrete, “bite-sized” chunks then a high ROI is still insufficient to proceed. Think of it as simply risk aversion to a seemingly all or nothing bet.

Recently, I was doing some research on “cloud computing” and found a particular piece on why some companies are not jumping on this bandwagon. There is a line in the piece that says on fear stems from the “downsides of depending upon SEI (Somebody Else’s Infrastructure)”. When I read these sorts of sentiments I get concerned though (note: these are not the author of the article’s sentiments). The potential of cloud computing is quite compelling as it directly impacts the Divisibility factor of my Latent Value function above.

Consider as an example, taking advantage of business intelligence (BI) solutions offered in a “software as a service” (SaaS) model (a very mainstream version of cloud computing ).

Using existing, non-SaaS BI solutions the challenge for any organization, but particular the tens of millions of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), to get at the Latent Value available from mining and analyzing their internal data (e.g., sales history, order patterns and mixes, etc.) and improving future sales or marketing decisions is that the Cost to Unlock is steep. But more importantly, the cost to get the first increment of Potential Value is relatively high. In other words, traditional approaches to BI have a low Divisibility factor.

In comes BI offered in the “cloud” and the overall cost potentially comes down but more importantly due to the typical low entry cost and pay-as-you-grow  business model most vendors offer, there is much improved ability to achieve initially meaningful ROI.  This significantly raises the Divisibility factor.

So while SEI should be a factor, it should be weighed carefully and considered against the trade-off: without SaaS a company may not be able to get at any of the Latent Value. SaaS has potential well worth checking out and continuing to monitor as it evolves and becomes more and more applicable to more businesses of all sizes.