SAAS is the big winner of recent enterprise software trends, reason is we are tired of heavy long implementations, that require so many stakeholders in the organisation.
In General the benefits of this type is that you can start using tomorrow, and leave the day after. These lightweight solutions opened room for errors and mistakes.
But people confuse many solutions for SAAS, as far as I see it’s a mix of online access where management of the system is done remotely.
Moreover, no real pre integration is needed so keeping it light and clear ROI fast is key for success.
This model allowed many startups to succeed, because it really took a long tail approach to almost all markets. So if before procurement was an SAP module, today you have procurement software for each and every industry.
When companies try to gather data it makes sense to do it on industry level.
Where it all probably began, even before software is with market analysis, this is a process that each company must do but research is too long and gathering the data should be done for each industry in a consolidated manner. Output an aggregated report for each manufacturer with his own point of view is not tough at this point.
On top of that, if there are more than 50 companies that collect data and manage it, there is a reason to consolidate, have 1 company that maintains that and replaces internal processes that are similar in companies that procure metal for example. Analysis, knowledge and experience really drives organisations forward if they listen and benefit from other companies’ knowledge that are implemented in a SAAS solution.
Procurement software systems at each niche market, processes that have to sort through electronic component data
Unlike the Salesforce of 10 years ago, today SAAs companies really focus on niche markets and provide small gradual improvements.
Take for example www.sociabble.com, an employee engagement and advocacy for social media, no company would invest in that, but it drives marketing efforts. For large organisations this can be really helpful with most sales research done online through specific social media channels.
Another example is www.sourcingBot.com, they manage and provide access to millions of part information in the electronic component world. Before that you had teams at each and every part manufacturer and distributor managing part information and struggling with the same normalization issues. No more, they collect, update and manage all technical parametric part data.
On top of that, for semiconductors and passive components, they provide a cross reference engine, which no company could have had the time to research and build complex models but a small startup can do that.
Key to success is data normalisation that otherwise would be done in each and every manufacturer.
Where we see a big improvement is with startups such as Globality, which takes AI and algorithms to run through large quantities of data, before the solution is available. This processing usually happens before real usage of the system begins, it allows managers insight onto existing processes, according to keywords for example. Or it involves time consuming processes that must involve many types of information, in these cases, a manual intervention is key to success, but bringing all information, after it was mapped and tagged to the user at the right time still saves enormous time and too many stakeholders.
Change management really loves those tools because it achieves change management and maintains knowledge internally.
To summarise, SAAS solutions really glow when they replace internal processes that are time consuming and shared by many companies. The solution must be easily installed and used by a limited cadre of employees.
Benefit should be immediate and does not require significant integration with internal tools, all of those solutions will be later approached and possible if the startup delivers and manages to provide benefit quickly with a minor problem solution.
The term POC which was common in previous enterprise solutions is problematic in the eyes of procurement, long NDA and due diligence of central core business are hard to achieve and are usually not really available for startups.