If you’ve made the transition from software vendor to service provider you’re well aware of the benefits of doing so and the challenges inherent in the change. But there may be something that you’ve overlooked. Have you considered harnessing the power of big data and business intelligence to improve customer loyalty and retention, grow your revenue, expand into new markets and differentiate yourself from your competition? The question is how.
You know your market and your software is designed and developed to deliver a specific set of functions and features for clients. Over time your customers, their needs, the market or regulations evolve, and the ways in which they use the software may change. As a result, you may get feedback from them about desired features, issues or functions they don’t necessarily use, and take it into consideration when developing updates.
As a service provider you can now take this a step further and be quicker to market with assessing the need for change. You have the perfect opportunity to use operational analytics to see just how customers are using your software; you can track demand, performance usage, frequency of feature use, and fault and support tickets – all with the ultimate aim of how you can modify it to make it more valuable and useful for your customers. You can aggregate this user metadata across customers, integrate the data sources and make your product better and more targeted.
You can then shift your development focus onto new features and functions or away from those that are not often used to make both the software and your development more efficient and effective. In the same vein, this type of data aggregation and analysis could alert you to the fact that customers are not using a key feature set because they don’t understand how to get the most out of it. By responding with targeted training that shows users how to optimise the software and gain the additional value you have developed you will build a closer relationship with your client and make the service more valuable and sticky.
In addition, with client approval you could aggregate user metadata across a wide range of clients to identify market trends and develop industry reports based on this anonymised data. This could, for example, help your customers make business decisions about capacity, scale and targeted marketing effort. This valuable BI could serve to be value add or a chargeable service stream.
And of course working with business intelligence partners that could integrate additional functionality into your software, like news feeds, social media monitoring and analyst feeds, you could be providing customers with a broader picture and help them address key issues like end-customer sentiment. Your hosting or infrastructure partners could have a role to play here in supporting you and this community, in bringing all these elements together and helping you add that ever-important value to your customers.
While you may have made the journey to a service provider alone, partnerships and working with third-party providers form a key part of furthering your success and keeping you competitive.
For more information on making SaaS work for your business, take a look at our website, or get in touch with us today.