Dinosaur or Astronaut, why SaaS isn’t for everyone…

There are so many benefits of cloud applications for both businesses and consumers. Many have changed our lives, saving us time, money and keeping us entertained.

BUT if you’re surrounded by dinosaurs and I don’t mean extinct reptiles, I mean those totally ignorant about tech, then I can honestly say Software as a Service isn’t worth it.

Let’s say you’re switched on – you’re more like an astronaut, you recognise how service organisations are using applications that provide efficient service delivery, transparent information to customers, accurate real-time billing and reporting – but your organisation has lots of dinosaurs. If this sounds familiar, despite having overseen the implementation of hundreds of successful SaaS applications across large multinational and SME businesses, I have to say, you need to accept SaaS probably isn’t suitable for you.

The reason is, for any service system to have maximum effect, you need enthusiastic contributors (astronauts) from each business function, that want improvements. Put a team of dinosaurs together with one or two astronauts and guess what? The astronauts get eaten alive and no amount of technology will protect them from being ignored, refused and generally labelled as annoying. This is why we’ve all heard a system horror story: company spends ££££thousands on a new system that’s supposed to make what they do super-efficient – only to go over budget, over time and fail to deliver real benefits to users. It even sounds like most government IT projects!

For clarification, there are some businesses where recently the dinosaurs have been forced to use new technologies and have embraced them. Maybe fearfully initially, but nevertheless they’ve seen the light and now realise what they’ve been missing out on. For these businesses where Covid has been a catalyst for recognising how technology can enhance business performance, there’s hope for you yet! But if not, you really are surrounded by dinosaurs and I’ll say it again, SaaS probably isn’t right for your business and if you were my prospective customer I’d say “sorry, but no we can’t help you right now”.

If you don’t have enough astronauts at board level, the project is unlikely to even get off the ground. Furthermore, if you don’t have enough open-minded people at senior levels in each department, you’ll simply encounter objections and a lack of information. This will make the project extremely difficult, and if you do push ahead, you’ll likely not scope it properly or implement it effectively to optimise things like first-time fix rates and the lowest cost of service. So, your ROI and your post-implementation costs will be significantly affected. When this happens, the dinosaurs who’ve not scoped workflows or processes properly will blame the technology and reassure themselves they were right all along, whilst their competitors continue to advance past them (not that they’ll notice).

So, before you embark on any potential systems change or upgrade, take a moment to assess your stakeholders. Ask them questions to ascertain what they want and understand how they use the current systems you have in place. If you discover you’ve got enough astronauts, great. If not, take the time to work on how you can change the balance in your company and create an environment that’s less fearful of IT and more open to using technology applications and seeing the benefits. A good SaaS project implementation can run like a NASA-level operation, but if you’re surrounded by dinosaurs let’s face it, it’s going to be painful.

I hope you liked this rant! Let me know what’s your ratio of dinosaurs to astronauts?

I’d be interested to hear your views.