An important plank in the floor boards supporting most product plans for enterprise software is an assumption about enterprise consumer willingness to implement product updates, and, in turn, purchase software assurance. Therefore, early stage ISVs should ensure they are operating with correct assumptions about both of these points. Here are some points to think about:
More likely than not enterprise consumers will implement product updates at a very slow pace. The pace at which they actually consume product updates (both free and paid) depends on just where in the office automation apparatus an ISV’s product plugs in. We argue enterprise organizations consuming software products for very large computing platforms (for example, IBM Notes, Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle, etc) will be especially slow to implement. It is simply very difficult for these organizations to implement a separate upgrade/update policy for software serving as an add-on to a larger solution. Any/all updates are more likely to happen when they are coordinated with plans to implement updates to the host software platform.
Assuming enterprise consumers, more often than not will decide to purchase software assurance (aka annual maintenance) is a safe assumption. But this assumption can be better fortified when promotion efforts for software assurance emphasize something other than an opportunity to implement new features, which will only be available in future versions of a product. The real emphasis for promotion for assurance should be on the importance of a specific product, within the enterprise computing architecture for a specific organization. This emphasis is legitimately important as one’s product has been assimilated within a core enterprise computing platform. If the customer is committed to maintaining the overall computing platform, then assurance should be provided to one’s product as a now important component of the overall platform, itself.
Opt for Cloud Delivery as a SaaS and Solve Both Problems
Opting for a cloud, SaaS delivery method for one’s product certainly removes most of the obstacles between enterprise consumers and the benefits designed to be delivered via product updates. When an ISV controls the timing of when updates are applied (which is entirely the case for software delivered via cloud subscription), then consumers can be confidently expected to realize the benefits in keeping with one’s product plan.
The question of whether or not software assurance makes sense for one’s enterprise consumers is also completely removed. If enterprise consumers maintain SaaS subscriptions, they are maintaining software assurance.
Ira Michael Blonder
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