Software as a Service (SaaS) - Adoption

“SaaS is just part of a wider move towards Internet based automated services.”

Often I get questions about Software as a Service (SaaS) adoption. Unfortunately the answer isn't very straight forward. There are many factors that influence the adoption. However, it will happen eventually! Software as a Services will become a utility, like electricity did in the beginning of the last century.

At Exact Software we work on Business Software for the Small and Medium Businesses (SMB), I will try to give a clear answer from this context. The key issues to be considered are:
  • Trust, are you a trusted service vendor? A trusted Software vendor doesn't necessary make you a trusted Services vendor!
  • Value proposition, does your SaaS solution offer significant better value that a competitive On Premise solution? Software as a Service solutions allow for multiple businesses to share the same environment. This shared environment can serve as a platform for additional value and functionality such as collaboration, benchmarking, etc..
  • Market Segment, each market segment has a different rational for adoption. Is your target segment ready for SaaS?
  • Buying behavior, visionary buyers are already adopting SaaS, but conservative buyers are still holding off. Conservative buyers might however already adopt SaaS accessories to extent the life cycle of their current investments.
  • Mission Critical, how crucial is your solution for running the business? Of course all solutions are crucial for the success of a business, but still some are more important than others. The most crucial solutions might get slower SaaS adoption, because the risk for failure is larger.
  • Economy, low initial investments and pay as you go business models might be in favor in the current turbulent economy. These do
I've summarized this all in the presentation below.

At Exact Software we have seen good SaaS adoption with the Exact Online accounting solution in the Netherlands and Belgium. It's interesting to see that most buyers are young enterpreneurs in small companies and their accounting is not mission critial (it can be down for a couple of minutes). They especially value the tight collaboration with their accountants.
I personally think that adoption might accellarate, as a result of generational shifts.

Related posts:

LinkedIn Polls

LinkedIn polls are smoking!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my crowd sourcing experiments. In the post I mentioned a LinkedIn group: Users Exact Synergy where I initiated a simple discussion. Part of the discussion I asked an additional question to the group to prioritize some topics. To my surprise this was picked up by one of the group members that created a poll. I was not aware of the functionality... but it's smoking...

You call to action
1. Join the conversation in the LinkedIn group: Users Exact Synergy
2. Complete the Poll, found here..

Tough Times, grab the opportunities

Recently a lot has been written about the financial recession we are heading for. Business is slow and people are loosing their jobs. Especially in during the Holiday period this is not a nice thing to have on you mind. You should turn it around, Don't Panic! and grab the opportunities.

In previous posts I already wrote 'Crisis fuels Innovation' and 'Crisis or Tipping Point', both dealing with opportunities in challenging times. I'm proud to work for a company that doesn't put innovation and future investments in these challenging times on hold, but instead keeps investing to continue to be ahead of the peer group and demonstrate their strength.

For software developers in Delft, Netherlands there is a great opportunity to work on the next generation products. Check (Dutch only) and don't hesitate to contact me for more information on the content of the positions.

Image credit: detritus

RSS is Cool for Non Geeks Too!

RSS Are you ever doing this:
  • Searching for news?
  • Scanning different websites for news?
  • Curious what will be written next by your favorite blogger?
  • Curious what is new in you online tools?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions you should consider adopting RSS. I will explain what you can do, but first watch the following movie from CommonCraft.

Now you know what to do:
  1. Start using an RSS Reader. I use Google Reader and I love it.. You easily find it here at Google. If you already use iGoogle, GMail or have a Google account it's super easy. Just sign-in and off you go.
  2. Subscribe to RSS feeds.  Click here to start with this blog
For those already subscribed to this blog,
  1. Thank You.. I do appreciate it.. and I hope you enjoy the content.
  2. I recommend you to use the most recent feed:
Now you are geeky cool too...

Happy Holidays 2008

For all that I couldn't address in person I recorded a short video message..

You think I should do more video blogging?

Understandable Social Media Marketing

We all deal with the challenge to explain new trends to our peers and managers. This is not always very easy, but lucky enough there are people helping us. The guys and gals from Telezent create excellent flash presentations to make complex topics understandable for everyone. Keep the good work up!

Today it's Social Media Marketing!

Now you watched the presentation you learned:
1. You need to be open and transparent
2. It's a 2 way dialog
3. Rapid responses are required
4. ... and it's all about People...

Now have a look again at 'Ondernemen, Juist Nu' (Dutch Only).. It's not about selling and marketing, but about giving and listening. Come and join the conversation.

Enterprise 2.0 and Innovation

I love SlideShare and always find something good there.... recently I found the presentation below, it's wicked!

I can really relate to many of the observations, because they directly reflect back to my own experiences.
1. Business is about people and conversations. A statement I often use why social networking is so important. It's all about the conversation
2. Organizations need to get better at collaborating. Especially Globalization & Specialization, Consumerisation of IT and "The Google Generation" are driving this.
3. Enterprise 2.0 is already happening in your organization. We adopt because it Empowers us! it's easy, easy, easy and easy to use!
4. ... but a culture and behavior shift is required..
5. Social Software = Communication + Participation... so start to share, communicate and participate in the conversation... Comments are very welcome!

Enjoy the whole presentation and big thumbs up to the creators, check out their blog: The Content Economy

Twitter for Business

Ever wondered what Twitter can do for your business.. Have a look at this presentation by Ogilvy

Social Media and Crowd sourcing Experiments

People often question the business value of Social Media and Social Networking. I strongly believe it adds value and will become a standard part of doing business. Many others have written about this already, but nothing is more valuable than personal experiences.

Some of my real life experiences:
  • LinkedIn group discussion for Exact Synergy users starts to provide information
  • Exact and the ImagineCup started with a DM Tweet 
  • I found good information on Windows Azure, based on a Tweet 
  • One of my friends, a banker, found one of mine SlideShare presentations and asked for more material to promote a project
... and my life has become much more information rich...
Related Posts
Image credit: andreaweckerle

Dos And Donts When Facing A Recession

Thanks to my coworker Kim for the nice presentation

Don't forget to complement her on the excellent work. She will be happy to receive comments are a nice  Tweet!

Exact Software and the ImagineCup

A while back I received a direct message Tweet from one of my Microsoft Twitter buddies asking if Exact Software was interested to participate in the ImagineCup 2009 (dutch), a global student technology competition focused on finding solutions to real-world issues. The timing was perfect, because just days before the tweet Exact Software signed an extensive collaboration deal with the Technical University in Delft.
I liked the idea of an additional way of working with students, because they will be extremely influential for future business software developments. Earlier in my post on Unified Communications I already wrote about the impact of Generation Y and the way they communicate. We all need to learn from them, to make sure we can offer future business solutions that match their expectations.
Today we had a dinner with Microsoft and some of the sponsors of the ImagineCup. I'm pretty excited and look forward to really get started. 
P.S. Without Twitter this would probably not have happened!

Exact Software and Social Media

I've been writing quite a few times about Social Media. I'm not an expert, but interested in the topic and do believe companies, products and services need to embrace Social Media. Within Exact Software I've always been an evangelist of Social Media, we need to listen and embrace the users of our products and services.

It's nice to have internal discussions, but in the end it's about experimenting and learning. In the past I was not very sure if I could write about my company, but started to do this more and more. Exact Software is now one of the most used tags of my posts. Also my buddies Andre, Eric and Ronald have started to blog and be fairly open. This is a clear signal that the company is changing and I'm proud of it!

I also reported earlier on the great initiative of Exact in the Netherlands with the 'Ondernemen. Juist Nu ' community. It's not about our products and services, but it's really about information for the Small and Medium Businesses related to the economic downturn. Sharing and conversation are the main ingredients.

In the meantime the Exact Research team and the Marketing teams are working together into the next steps of user engagement. I will keep you updated on future development. We are learning and I value your feedback and comments.

Related posts:
Image credit: Gary Hayes 

I need more Twitter followers!

Guy Kawasaki writes in 'How to Use Twitter as a Twool' to get as many Twitter followers as possible. Just because the nobodies are the new somebodies!

It's interesting reading, but for those to lazy you can see it visualized below.

Updated, 14 December 2008: Replaced the above presentation with a more current version.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, but only if it makes you feel happy.

The Evolution of my Tweets

When I started to use Twitter (See my first Tweet) I like so many started to really tell what I was doing. In hte beginning this didn't return a lot of value, but it did help social contacts... because your 'friends' where doing the same. This added more social knowledge, especially about the people you are working with. In the workplace it also helped to increase knowledge sharing, because coworkers just had better almost real-time information of what the rest of the team was doing.

Twitter behavior over time started to change. I said I started with just telling what I was doing, but after a while I started to ask questions... and surprise, I sometimes got answers. I also figured that just telling what I was doing would not be very valuable for a larger audience. I now try to share more information and participate in more conversation. However, FriendFeed is stealing part of the conversation, just because it's easier to use for the conversation.

In my post on the evolution of my bookmarking I already explained that I started to aggregate all my services into FriendFeed. This is still the case and actually powers even my livestream. Since the aggregation I also started to experiment with other services as Jaiku. I played around, but I don't have an audience there. Likewise I started to use BrightKite, but it's actually confusing me, it's too complex.

I've also been using a variety of Twitter tools. For a long time I just used the Twitter Website, because I found it convenient. On the iPhone I tried many, but Twinkle is for me the app to use. I like the location, the people near me and not to forget the picture support. I do however use TwitPic for most pictures. Just because it's so easy to use. On the desktop I for a while used Twhirl but nowadays it's completely replaced by TweetDeck. The group, and the ability to remove read Tweets make it a easy tool to use when following larger number of people. I'm also very excited about the new upcoming TweetDeck features, because they really are what I need.. especially the sync between multiple installs. Recently I also discovered the 'TwitThis' bookmarklet, an easy way to share information.

Tell me, how has your usage involved?

Windows Azure

Last week I was for a Global ISV briefing at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. A significant amount of time was spend on Windows Azure and Azure Services Platform (Yes extremely confusing). It's all still in it's infancy, it only runs in 1 data center, but the expansion plans are huge. Related to the data center expansion plans I found the interesting video below.

Lets now all hope that the trucks don't get stuck in traffic when suddenly a need for additional capacity is required..

Google Friend Connect

This week Google made Google Friend Connect available to web masters that wanted to add a "dash of social". Just to get a feel for this all I've added Google Friend Connect to the sidebar of my Blog. Just visit and scroll down a bit. Enjoy!

To learn more watch the video below:

... or visit

Microsoft GISV Briefing - Wrap Up

The last 2 days I spend at the Microsoft campus in Redmond for a briefing. The target audience were the large global ISV's. There were about 30 people representing 20 companies. It was a small group but this allowed for good discussion. Since it was an NDA event I won't disclose any details, but share some general experiences.

The content covered in slides is mainly publicly available, but the discussion went beyond that. For successful technology adoption it's necessary to have a common understanding on the business value and align the product road maps. Those that work with Microsoft will know that this is not always very easy. However Microsoft was very open in the discussion and will work on helping us to do better business.

Today no movie, because I learned that no camera's are allowed... oops.. You have to check yesterdays, that can be found in HD on Vimeo . Further I did Twitter the event, but don't expect any real news.. ;-)

Microsoft Global ISV Partner Briefing

I'm spending some time at the Microsoft campus participating in the Global ISV Partner Briefing. It's an NDA event, but it's mainly PDC content and for the rest I get shot if I tell you about it.

I also got this nice little Flip MinoHD camcorder to play with. It's not available in Europe, so I really had to get it here. I'm testing it a bit and here you also have a little impression of the event.

Thanks for watching

Introducing my Lifestream

A few times I already mentioned that I aggregate all my services into FriendFeed. I love this because it gives me a nice time line of events and it gives you a good way to follow what inspires me. This is also called life streaming.

In order to make it easier for you to follow me I've embedded a FriendFeed powered lifestream in my blog. You can find it here or in my profile section sidebar. Enjoy the lifestream.

Games give better everything

After I wrote 'Gaming meets Business Software' I found an excellent presentation by Jane McGonigal on 'The Rise of the Happiness Brands'. In short it says that people just want to be happy and that happiness is the new capital. We are all in the happiness business and need happiness engineers.

About 20 percent in the presentation she mentions that Games work better, better instructions, feedback, community and emotion and creates the link to what people really want. Games are happiness engines, but are broken from reality. It's necessary to bridge the happiness gap between games and reality. Reality should be turned into games and consumers into players.

I guess I've to dust off the XBox 360 in my office...