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SaaS or S&aS – The case for ‘Software AND a Service’

SaaSSaaS, standing for ‘Software as a Service’, is a fairly ubiquitous term these days. It was not always that way. Back in 2000, when my colleagues and I embarked on our journey into the enterprise cloud computing world, we thought we were building a ‘web application.’ As the years have rolled by many terms have come and gone, such as Application Service Provider (ASP), and others have stuck around, like Email Service Provider (ESP).

Over that period, we here at Adestra, and numerous others in our space, have made our web applications awesome. Whether they’re awesome because the user interface is intuitive and easy to use, or awesome through the use of powerful segmentation and automation capabilities, or awesome because of fantastic reporting intelligence, there’s no doubt that the web applications of today have taken huge steps forward in capabilities in the last decade or so.

Putting aside for the moment the arguments about how much of this awesome tech the users actually make use of, it’s clear too that this expansion of functionality is going to continue. The recent acquisitions of digital platform providers (for whom email is their core offering) shines a light on the increasing demand for cross channel, automated solutions.

Changes in the way messages are consumed and in the volume of data that can be brought to bear are leading to ever more sophisticated pieces of software to provide businesses with what they need. The more sophisticated these solutions become, and the more complex the requirements there’s a real danger of one key aspect of what vendors (and I include Adestra in this) should be about being lost. Software as a Service. Application Service Provider. Email Service Provider. It’s all about service.

I’m sure I’m not the first to use this variation on the SaaS acronym but shouldn’t buyers be able to expect “Software AND a Service”?

As a SaaS provider, one of Adestra’s maxims has always been to be the sort of business we would want to do business with, and to think of our service levels in those terms. When a business critical or high revenue generating message needs to be sent out, are 12 hour response times acceptable? Is it okay to make it difficult to speak to someone on the phone?

No matter how user friendly marketing tools become – and we like to think this is something we specialise in – it is still the case that those setting up email and digital campaigns have one priority – getting the campaign done. I would like to work with a company that helped me project manage a new automation initiative, that were proactive in helping my users get the most of the platform, that never tried to sell me a dream but that helped me take the steps necessary to move my marketing towards the cutting edge and increase my ROI.

Technology is awesome, but service? Service is everything.

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