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Whatever it is, try to deliver it via the cloud

By David Steakley

Editor’s note:  Popular contributor, David Steakley, returns this week with his take on the importance of cloud delivery for technology businesses. – DWB

Everyone knows that software-as-a-service has displaced the old style of delivering enterprise software. You may have assumed that this has transpired as a natural evolution of technological capabilities. Wrong. The key driver is to shorten the decision path.

With old-school enterprise software, closing a sale required you to get the customer’s lawyers to sign off on the software license; getting the customer’s IT personnel to bless your architecture and grudgingly deign to allow your software to enter the holy chambers of IT; getting the green shades to issue a check which would often contain six figures or David_Steakleymore; persuading the IT gnomes to buy adequate disk space, CPU power, terminals, and network capacity to allow your software to operate; and many other relatively impossible hurdles. It is kind of amazing, in retrospect, that any enterprise software was ever purchased.

[Email readers, continue here…] Software-as-a-service, often sold in a freemium model with the simple features available at no cost, allows the individual end user to decide on a whim to try out your solution, and IT never even has to know! “Contract? Well, there was some funny language I clicked on…”

There’s a lesson in this for any company which intends to try to sell to huge corporations: design a sales model which requires the least possible action by the customer in order to close the sale, that involves the least number of corporate personnel, and requires the smallest possible amount of cash outlay at the outset. The closer you can be to allowing the actual end user of your product or service to decide on his or her own to buy your product or service, the better off you are.

If this type of approach simply doesn’t work for what you’re doing, then you have to grit your teeth and plan for success, to overcome the inherent obstacles of selling to corporations.

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