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Posted - March 17th, 2006

Published on Zdnet: http://blogs.zdnet.com/SAAS/?p=105

Just as an ‘out of interest’ note, ProActive Software has an SAAS modeled solution called ProWorkflow.com. We’ve been of the opinion that it’s better to have more servers, and less users on them. We’d run about 50-100 customer accounts to a server. The upgrade and maintenance is a little more overhead, but the knowledge of knowing a large chunk of customers won’t be affected in an outage is worth it. Let’s face it, infrastructure problems will always surround the SAAS model – The issue is minimizing broad risk to customers, and having a good data integrity/recovery plan. What’s interesting is that customers take for granted that power companies, gas, phone, banks and all other co’s will have their fair share of consumer-ended problems, but they’ll always expect 100% uptime from an SAAS provider. I think as part of any SAAS’s infrastructure plan should be a plan to educate customers about the technology. If they understand the platform they’re on, they’ll be more understanding when issues arise.

Posted - March 17th, 2006

Published on Zdnet: http://blogs.zdnet.com/SAAS/?p=113

With traditional software selling, you make the sale, turn your back on the customer and move on to the next – “Accountability=none”. The on-demand model is great. If the customer fails, we fail, and vice versa. There is great reason to ensure the service works, not just for the customer, but for the future of the SAAS business too..
We’ve had customers try to talk us down on price. We say, “Sure, we could discount price, but that lost revenue at our end is affecting the level of infrastructure we can afford to have in place to support your business.” They always pay after hearing that – they understand.

With traditional software, it’s inherently a selfish model. The software co takes money for the product, and shifts the risk of the software to the customer’s end, often with no accountability if any issues occur. It’s “Tough, thanks for the sale, cya later!”

With on-demand software it’s a symbiotic relationship once in place. If the customer leaves, the SAAS provider suffers. If the SAAS provider leaves, the customer suffers. They need each other, which means, like it or not, you are in a forced ‘relationship building’ business model. It’s a great way to do business…

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Posted - March 17th, 2006

Published in ‘Aardvark Daily’… http://www.aardvark.co.nz/daily/2002/0923c.htm

I think it was about 2 years ago when I said to my wife Sarah, “Whatever I do, don’t let me be a web designer”. This was just after a large dot com (or dot co.nz) business my employer was involved unfortunately failed in a hailstorm of nastiness (Not his fault, he was a great Guy! and is a great friend), and made me sit back and take stock of my career… (NB: I met my wife through the bust – so that was great!)

I found myself in a place where after 9 years of hard servitude as a high-end Mac Operator/Designer, suddenly the jobs had changed… Hmmm the jobs were still there… it’s just that an experienced (both technical and creative) designer seemed to “just not fit” in the world of 1-2yr experienced MacOps which seemed to be streaming from every orifice of all the “Creative Institutes”. (Isn’t it interesting that in the past a design or technical course taught you foundational skills, yet today they teach you for $Thousands how to use a couple of bits of software which, by the way, are generally out of date by the time you graduate). And hey! who dropped all the Zero’s off my nice high salary. It seems the salary level has in the last 5 years become inversely proportional to my experience level?? (NB: Many fishing trips on the bosses boat during this period… and I bought a couple of nice cars!)

Ok, so after the Graphic Design scene and the bomb, I thought I’d try my hand at the Visual Effects/3d Animation game. Having dabbled over the years, I got in with a leading Effects designer and freelanced for a while.. “What’s that? you want a website?…” – ok, back to the 3d Animation. Now theres a good field! Hmmm… Thousands of kids spending $Thousands, learning to use 1 or 2 software packages (At least web uses three or four) which if the industry swings, they’re all out of a job… Hmmm Jobs?…1 Job for each 200 kids (i think) – and seriously underpaid, with an average shelf life of 6 months. (NB: I’d better have a latte for a couple of hours then I’m off fishing – take the mobile)

Right, I’ll try the home office… the Parnell Visual effects thing was great, but gosh darn it! I’ve just had too much of that Southern Motorway… Right, on to the visual effects…”What’s that? you want a website?…” ok, now where was I – oh that’s right… In the lounge watching Oprah waiting for a client to come over. Hmmmm Visual effects seems to be fizzling, had enough of Graphic Design (no money in it)… I guess there will be some good money in the web… I’m sure I can come up with the next great idea, Yeah! no one’s done it!, It’ll sell… (oh-oh Dot com hype got me for a sec… sorry about that) (NB: Nice day outside, I think I’ll go for a Kayak down at the beach… Take the mobile)

“Whats that! Changes to the XYZ website…Yup! I’m on it! ” – Darn it… Now I have to drag that darned Sea Kayak up the hill to the house! …. 2 mins later (minimum charge 1/2 hour) “Changes done!” (NB: I wonder how my mates going – I think I’ll visit him… After washing the car)  OK, Sarah and I have just decided… Had enough of the Southern Motorway… Were a virtual business!… We don’t need a location!… I have a mobile!  Packed up the dog, cat, horse, horse float. Rigged up the double cab Hilux Ute (2yo), sold the house and headed to Christchurch.

(After a couple of months) Hmmm… I don’t know about the industry down here… seems hard to find work… People are nice though (NB: Said to myself as I drive down the driveway of the 26 acre lovely farmlet overlooking the Alps, which costs to rent, the same as a small house on a busy corner in Auckland)

Wheres the web going? Will I be out of work soon? I wish I new Cold Fusion and Flash better… I’ll never get any
work… (NB: Said to myself on the leisurely 20min drive in to town past beautiful scenery, paddocks, trout and salmon rivers etc… Ok, I’ve found a carpark right outside – better do some work I guess)

Will I be a good provider? Is the industry going to collapse? Where are the “Hot Jobs” (NB: I ask myself while planning to take a day off and go fly fishing with Phil up in the Alps in a couple of days – It’s been so sunny and rainless for the last two months, I figured “Why not”  Hmmm… Where are the “Hot Jobs”

I think if we are open to change and open our eyes, we will see that the web has offered us a lifestyle found in very few other jobs… I for one love working creatively in the IT realm….