Many of the companies I work with are software vendors that see their world is changing and are searching the right path forward. They are confronted with changing customer demand on business models, price pressure as a result of new entries into their market, a technology push towards the cloud and a growing opportunity in mobility. These are of course only a few of the challenges, but those are the ones I see most of the time. The companies have a 10-15 year history and have a successful on premise (most of the time) offering, but this success is at the same time one of their challenges.
When talking to these companies I often hear back: 'We have very conservative customers' and they are using this to defend their slow move or hesitation towards the cloud. It's not so much about the conservative customers, but about their challenge to deal with all the changes they are facing. The companies have millions of lines of on premise code and already have a hard time dealing with all the customer feedback and adjusting their product to the latest standards and platforms. They just lack the the resources to invest into the cloud or mobile solutions. It's not only a huge investment, it's also something they can't justify in a business case, due to upcoming price pressure on their products.
For many years they had a comfortable operation with releasing a new product version with many new features every two to three years. The product features were used to motivate customers to migrate to the new version in the next few years and the cycle repeated itself again. This was a very nice and predictable model, however due to the changes mentioned earlier this doesn't hold up anymore. It's time to bite the bullet and start to do things differently. It's time to start innovating for your customers. Get inside there business and figure out what they need and this isn't necessary what they want! You might consider your customers are being conservative, because you believe they should innovate more! They on the other hand expect a software vendor that helps them to innovate. Just forget the past, open your visor and look into the future. The changing world offers so many opportunities, you just have to grab them.
Just remember: There are NO conservative customers, there are only customers that are waiting for their software vendors to help them innovate their business.
Btw, those that are curious about my own software business need to be patient for a while. It's still too early to share what I'm up to. Just subscribe to this blog and you will be the first to know.
Image: Vermin Inc