Choice is paramount. Especially for your customers. Having two software selling options in today’s unsteady economic environment is a huge advantage if you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Not only will it expose cost savings but greater operational efficiencies will be revealed. In the technology industry, it’s called “software plus services.”
Because of the low start-up costs, cloud computing stands out as a compelling choice for businesses; however, it’s not for everyone. But a hybrid approach-such as software plus services that combines on-premise software with software as a service (SAAS)-might be a more realistic solution.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of the software plus services approach:
Advantage No. 1: Flexibility
Online services and online software give your customers the option to explore new ways to handle their business needs. For instance, the Halloween store down the street has much higher sales in September and October than it does in February and March. Instead of purchasing additional servers to handle the load during the busy times (and sit idle during the slow times), the store can purchase additional server capacity for a fixed period of time, for a fraction of the cost of physical servers.
Advantage No. 2: More innovation
Access to the cloud allows companies the opportunity to create a richer and more diverse customer experience. For instance, there are Web applications available that allow organizations to share their data across several devices for a seamless, synchronized experience. Remote workers will also benefit from this arrangement because they will have easier access to information and realize faster results.
Advantage No. 3: Varied deployment
Do you choose your tactics based on your customers’ demands? Or do you base your solution offerings on your business strategy? Regardless of which way you lean, there are options to handle both situations. An IT decision that is best for one company might not even be a remote possibility for another. Therefore, taking advantage of both sides of the equation-on-site and off-site deployment-is key. It just comes down to what’s best for your organization.
Advantage No. 4: Greater connectivity
With this approach, the barriers between your PC, the Web and your mobile device will dissolve. Applications are no longer platform-specific; the agnostic nature of their usability means you will experience the same functionality on your computer that you do on your mobile phone. For instance, the foreman at the construction site will have immediate access to his company’s inventory on his mobile device in real time to ensure that they have the correct materials. This saves time and money, and it’s one less trip to the warehouse.
In a world that has become increasingly more integrated, connecting people seamlessly to information and communications is a necessity.
Cindy Bates is Vice President of Microsoft’s U.S. Partner Strategy, Marketing and Programs Group where she focuses on enabling and supporting Microsoft’s expanding partner ecosystem. Prior to her current role, Cindy was general manager of Microsoft’s U.S. Small Business Group, leading teams responsible for marketing, Web and customer relationship management, business development, and small business partner connections.
Previously, Cindy was a managing director in Microsoft’s Corporate Development and Strategy group where she strategically evaluated, structured, valued and negotiated the company’s mergers, acquisitions, investments and joint ventures. Cindy focused on the SMB applications market where she led the acquisition of Navision for Microsoft Business Solutions. She also supported the U.S. Sales and Services organization with a focus on partner strategy. Cindy has Bachelor’s degrees in International Economics and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Harvard University. She can be reached at partnerQ@microsoft.com.