Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Stackify Blog, ManageEngine IT Matters, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Entrepreneurship and the Enablement Economy

At its best, the Software-as-a-Service model is about enabling the success of customers

When focusing on one element of a SaaS provider to evaluate, it should not be the technology it is providing today but its commitment to finding new ways to succeed in the future. This kind of agility that goes beyond technology is why SaaS is so loaded with potential for entrepreneurs.

With the barriers to entering the communications market nearly eliminated, this next wave of entrepreneurs have an opportunity to focus on enabling the success of their customers through sourcing, developing and delivering the technologies they need. It is a mindset shift that is critical to leveraging the cloud delivery model to its fullest potential. This is about not just delivering features or functionalities, but helping customers to shape agile, efficient and successful businesses.

Engage, Educate, Enable, Succeed
The most exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs in the cloud is to use the flexibility it offers to co-create, refine and evolve new enterprise services. A SaaS provider has the freedom to change the services it offers with input from across the value chain, as long as they remain focused on the core aspect of their business where they add value: enablement. Whether they offer supply chain management software through to cloud communications, the service is a tool for their enterprise customers to drive efficiency, grow and increase profitability.

Services have been decoupled from infrastructure and that means more freedom to explore new ideas, innovations and business models. It also means sellers and buyers can have a greater influence on one another. An innovative SaaS provider can influence what their customers sell and how they sell while creating a feedback loop that sees services evolve rapidly to meet customer needs.

The relationship between the buyer and seller begins with outlining the business objectives of the customer and it's up to the SaaS provider to shape a service offering that will enable the customer to succeed. This takes a consultancy-based sale and evolves it into an ecosystem that extends beyond the point of sale.

At its most advanced, the SaaS provider can work with customers to co-create and develop the services that will ultimately help meet their business objectives. That is the goal. Not delivering a new technology but clearly having impact within the customer's business and measuring the results of the engagement. When business and IT become aligned, the SaaS provider has to become increasingly adept at using their service platform to influence their customer's businesses.

It also works the other way. SaaS providers learn from customers and at the same time play a role in educating their customers to ensure that they are using the services effectively or, in the case of the channel, are skilled in selling the new services being provided. If it will help the customer to achieve its goals, the SaaS provider can educate its customers' sales staff and arm them with new skills to take these services to market. In this way, enablement means extending the relationship to include not just learning from customers but guaranteeing the success of the operation through education and sharing experience and expertise.

Entrepreneurs in Enablement
The opportunity for entrepreneurs is in creating businesses focused on shared value that evolves the enterprise IT channel model to best use the characteristics of the cloud. This is about focusing less on shifting units or seats and more on creating sustainable and profitable businesses dedicated to helping customers transform their operations and increase profitability.

Why would an entrepreneur be interested in this space? SaaS businesses that are focused on enablement have an advantage over competitors and deliver unique advantages. The closeness that they develop with their customers gives them high rates of customer retention and stickiness as well as a rapid path to differentiation.

Technologies and services will always change but if the business is dedicated to finding new ways to serve customers and evolve their offering then they will always be relevant. If a service provider anticipates emerging customer demand combined with listening and reacting to customer feedback, these customers don't need to look elsewhere for new services. Price comparison also is not central to decision making, ensuring that they do not compete on price but rather on the quality of the service they offer and the real business results they enable for customers.

Similarly, they are able to differentiate their offerings in the long term with more customers feeding into their service creation and refinement, making it easy to anticipate the needs of new customers. This in turn helps them to win more business.

By focusing on using cloud services to enable the success of customers, they create an ecosystem where customers get better services based on feedback and development while new customers become easier to obtain because their needs can be anticipated. Costs of sale are mitigated by long-term relationships, which increase profitability, and the business is able to tap recurring revenue streams.

While this might not appear as exciting as the success stories from the consumer communications market like WhatsApp, focusing on enablement builds dynamic businesses that are flexible and largely future-proof. The model works hard for both the buyer and the seller.

An Evolution
The cloud is ready to enter a new phase of its evolution where the technology is understood and the advantages are leveraged to build a healthy value chain. Entrepreneurs who recognize the opportunity to building businesses around enablement will have a lasting impact on their customers and the market.

SaaS has demonstrated how service development and management can sit outside of a business but that's only the first step. Thinking bigger about how enterprises are served and matching technology to business results is an exciting and logical progression. It will open new doors for both SaaS providers and customers to grow together and intertwine a value chain that has previously run from A to B from the provider to the customer.

The future IT and communications services delivered via the cloud will be shaped by the entrepreneurs that go beyond just the technology and look at how the relationship can develop. Enterprise customers simply want better solutions to meet their needs and are ready to work with providers that have a new approach dedicated to their success.

More Stories By Alan Rihm

Alan Rihm is CEO, managing Partner, and a member of the CoreDial, LLC board. He sets strategic direction for the company, and works closely with the board and management team to fulfill on the team’s commitment to its “hedgehog strategy” (see Jim Collins book ‘Good to Great’ for more on this concept).

Alan organized the spin-off and formation of CoreDial, and joined the company as CEO in 2005. He has been instrumental in establishing the company as one of the leading services delivery platforms for private label cloud communications. Under his leadership the company has experienced tremendous revenue and channel partner growth, as well as industry leading sales and operational key metrics.

Alan has been a successful entrepreneur in the Philadelphia region since 1995, and has a deep background in guiding software and service companies to critical mass and profitability. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...