Is unified billing the elephant in the room when it comes to SaaS?

My Post (15)As the modern enterprise adopts more and more software as a service (SaaS) applications, billing and compliance are becoming incredibly complex, with a simple solution nowhere to be seen.

How to Increase Product Adoption Rates: Tips for SaaS Enterprises

My Post - 2019-04-25T111440.615.jpgCongratulations! You’ve won a new customer and helped them learn how to use your product or service.

What happens next? In a perfect world, the customer would fully leverage it, then spread the word about your business to their friends and community. But in reality, all products and subscriptions have a learning curve that can block a customer from fully adopting the product. That’s why customer success teams need to continually educate customers about useful features and demonstrate the product’s value long after onboarding.

Supporting new customers during the adoption phase is a vital step in increasing retention. Once you learn how to increase product adoption rates, customers often become brand evangelists who tell their friends, family and social media contacts about your product. And you can’t find a better scenario than retaining customers while also winning new ones.

How to Measure Product Adoption Rates

Before you can work on improving product adoption, you will need to gauge your company’s current product adoption rates. – Read more

7 Things You Must Know about Cloud-Based HR Management Systems

My Post (14).pngLike many others today, your company may be at a point where your leaders are sitting around a table scratching their heads in bewilderment.

Your company is growing at a fast pace, which is definitely a good thing; all that hard work and planning has paid off.

With that growth has come great opportunities for further expansion, and plenty of rewards for the people involved in the meantime. However, you have hit a roadblock. All this growth has led to an increase in your staff, and that staff is becoming very difficult to manage.

It’s not that the people you hired are difficult people. It’s just the way of doing business today has turned effectively managing a medium- to large-sized workforce difficult. Employees often work off-site, either remotely, on the road or away from the company’s main offices. This has caused your company issues when it comes to time management, scheduling, payroll and compliance.

With technology available to today, though, you can solve the challenges of effectively managing your workforce and alleviate the related stress by shifting to a cloud-based HR management system. But what is such a system? How does it work? And what are its benefits?

Here are seven things you must know about cloud-based HR management systems before making the switch.

  1. They Integrate Self-Service for Managers

One of the biggest advantages of cloud-based HR management systems is they allow supervisors of a company to manage their teams and employees from anywhere in the world, at any time. By moving all information, data and operations to the cloud, you will be expanding your accessibility significantly.

Now, managers can use either computers, laptops or any mobile device to perform the daily mundane tasks such as viewing employee information and events, reviewing and approving time cards and approving employees’ submitted requests to take time off.

  1. They Integrate Self-Service for Employees, Too

Cloud-based HR management systems aren’t all about cutting down the headache for supervisors, though. The great part is they simplify the mundane process of clocking in and out of work, submitting time sheets and requesting time off for employees.

Employees can easily go about completing all of these tasks from their mobile devices, while they’re out on the job or if they’re sick in bed at home. This eliminates the need for them to keep manual paper time sheets.

More advanced systems, such as the one created by Mitrefinch, offer some impressive clock-in and clock-out features such as biometric fingerprint scanners, as well as options to do so via desktops and also mobile devices that run on both iOS and Android systems.

  1. They Make Scheduling and Tracking Easy

One of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks for any supervisor is creating a dynamic employee schedule, making adjustments to that schedule on the fly and then tracking employee attendance and productivity. With a cloud-based HR management system, this is all simplified.

The platform makes it easy for supervisors to create even complex schedules for their employees. Then, once the schedule is in place, the system provides an easy way for these supervisors to track their employees’ attendance, make adjustments to the schedule if someone calls out and keep employees accountable with real-time visibility of the workforce.

Some features such as GPS tracking allow supervisors to monitor whether remote employees actually are where they say they are, giving an extra boost to productivity.

  1. They Streamline the HR Process

Your Human Resources department has a very difficult job, but this can be streamlined using a cloud-based HR management system. The platform can help your company easily access, analyze and report on details associated with human resources, including job applications, contract details and training qualifications.

By moving to the cloud, your HR department can reduce time spent on administrative tasks and filing, easily store and access all of your employee records, simplify the recruitment and onboarding process, and generate detailed workforce reports on labor activity.

  1. They Ensure Compliance and Accuracy

As companies grow, it becomes more difficult for them to remain compliant with regulations and to remain accurate in essential tasks such as payroll. This is where cloud-based HR management systems can play a huge role.

Mitrefinch’s platform allows the HR department to securely store and manage details of each employee with the highest security standards on the market. It also allows supervisors to monitor and track workforce data with real-time reporting, and to receive reminders with proactive alerts.

Finally, HR can monitor the workforce’s use of FMLA and each individual’s performance indicators through the system.

  1. They Free Up HR Time

One of the biggest benefits to a cloud-based HR management system is they free up a significant amount of time for HR personnel that is normally spent managing the attendance and payroll process. These platforms automate this process and integrate directly with a company’s payroll system, reducing the time spent collecting and reviewing old-school timesheets and then accurately entering that data into a payroll system.

With this extra time, a company can take full advantage of their HR resources and get more value from their talented HR team. This allows HR personnel to shift their focus to bigger-picture projects such as helping the business to deliver on goals, strategic work and any strategic imperatives the company may have.

  1. They Reduce the Cost of Doing Business

At the end of the day, perhaps the largest single benefit of using cloud-based HR management systems is they will save your company money. Many people might look at making the move to the technology as a cost to their business, but they should look at it from the other angle.

With all the significant benefits the platform provides, your company will actually be saving money due to your processes being streamlined, while your productivity will increase as well. This is something that is extremely difficult for a company to achieve on their own in today’s ever-changing global marketplace.

That’s why it makes so much sense for companies to make the shift to cloud-based HR management systems. They alleviate the pressure of the mundane yet crucial tasks such as employee time tracking, time and attendance, employee scheduling, compliance and security, and so much more. And the best part is they allow a company to do this in a way that not only saves money but significantly increases employee productivity as well.

The secrets of unicorns: Software-as-a-Service and the billion-dollar valuation

My Post (9).pngThere is a common thread among the world’s “unicorns” (companies that have risen to a billion-dollar valuation in just a few years), which is that most unicorns operate primarily as Software-as-a-Service-based (SaaS) businesses.

This begs two questions: what has been learned by these highly successful companies, and what are the lessons for those that aspire to become unicorns themselves?

In 2018, EY conducted a survey of 200 executives with deep experience in SaaS-based operations. These are the decision-makers on SaaS — all respondents are ranked director or above, and approximately a quarter are from the C-suite. This is what we discovered.

  1. Move quickly into SaaS

Our survey executives were asked to reveal the one thing that, looking back, they would have done differently. Their foremost answer: they would have moved more quickly into SaaS (25%). At the same time, many wish that they had pivoted and innovated more quickly (13%). Another factor (10% of respondents) was to have accelerated their entry into the market with an acquisition. – Read more

Does it get progressively easier or harder to scale SaaS as your company grows?

My Post (8).pngGenerally, it gets easier to grow at a “good”/modest rate at you scale, but harder to grow at an outsize rate.

Why?

Once you cross $5m-$10m in ARR, then usually:

  • You have a brand. At least, you have a mini-brand in your niche. And that brand generates leads organically, and fairly low-cost leads. This helps a lot.
  • Renewals make things more efficient. It’s much cheaper to renew a customer than to acquire one.
  • Account expansion starts to work. The best mid-market and enterprise SaaS companies grow their accounts 120%-160% as a cohort, inclusive of churn. But, this takes a while to kick in. A couple of years, really.
  • It’s much more predictable. After $10m ARR or so, you start to have a good sense, within a range, of how you are going to do this quarter and this year.
  • Your infrastructure usually is stronger. From your technical infrastructure and platform, to your financial controls and recruiting processes … you have more people, process and technologies to scale. – Read more

The data business: What SaaS companies need to know about the risks

My Post - 2019-04-25T110831.133.jpgData monetization is the key to long-term success for many companies, not just software companies but also commercial firms such as manufacturers, retailers, banks, and insurance companies.

The philosophy towards data used to be, “Keep only what you need for as long as you need it” to avoid data-related liabilities.  Now the philosophy is “Collect and keep as much as you can for as long as you can” in case you can find a way to monetize it.

Building large repositories of third-party data opens a company to new risks.  Even though data breaches, system hacks, and cloud security issues are almost becoming the “new normal,” if your cloud-based technology or solution falls victim to any of the above, life for your company will quickly become anything but normal.

Layer on top of those risks the many regulations now being imposed by governments throughout the world, and suddenly offering cloud solutions gets really complicated.

Here’s what you need to know. – Read more

Why SaaS companies should consider outsourcing

My Post - 2019-04-24T135355.182.jpgAs SaaS increases in popularity, outsourcing can indeed be an essential component for long term success.

Here are three reasons why SaaS companies should consider outsourcing as an option.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is quickly becoming the single most popular method of software delivery for customers around the globe. According to a report by BetterCloud, 73 per cent of businesses say their applications will be SaaS by 2020. And with the fastest growing SaaS companies scaling their teams by 56 per cent each year on average, hiring the right talent is very important. But it can also be their biggest hurdle. Finding talent is a challenge. There are many statistics that explain the skills gap in technology, and this gap is only growing in emerging tech industries. Growing, however, means finding talent that can handle new technology and challenges.

From Outsourcing to Outpacing: How SaaS Companies Succeed

My Post - 2019-04-24T120106.683.jpgFor SaaS companies, the competition is increasing, and businesses must find a way to meet market demands. Outsourcing allows them to do this.

I wrote about the benefits of outsourcing before, and how it lowers costs and increases efficiency. For software as a service (SaaS) companies, the competition is increasing, and businesses must find a way to meet market demands. Outsourcing allows them to do this.

SaaS is quickly becoming the single most popular method of software delivery for customers around the globe. According to a report by BetterCloud, 73% of businesses say their applications will be SaaS by 2020. And with the fastest-growing SaaS companies scaling their teams by 56% each year on average, hiring the right talent is very important. But it can also be their biggest hurdle. Finding talent is a challenge. There are many statistics that explain the skills gap in technology, and this gap is only growing in emerging tech industries. Growing, however, means finding talent that can handle new technology and challenges.

In today’s globalized economy, outsourcing is a common consideration for companies. Software outsourcing to Latin America, for instance, is becoming very popular for businesses in the United States because of the high rate of English proficiency and minimal time zone differences. Companies can work in real time with their outsourcing company, which is a plus for many businesses. As SaaS increases in popularity, outsourcing can indeed be an essential component in long-term success. Here are three reasons why SaaS companies should consider outsourcing as an option.

1. Rapid and enhanced growth

Software companies face particularly challenging barriers to success. One of the most pressing challenges is the rate at which they must grow to prosper.

Company growth depends on a variety of external factors, including market penetration, product adoption and engagement. It also depends on a variety of internal factors, like product development and cost analysis. For most companies, an annual growth of 20% would certainly be an exciting achievement, but if a software company only grows 20% annually, it has a 92% chance of failing in just a few short years.

Many factors play into a software company’s failure to evolve quickly, including startup costs and failed marketing campaigns. Another factor that negatively affects growth, potentially underestimated, is employee motivation and satisfaction. Before that, finding qualified employees is a challenge. For SaaS companies, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a full-time employee is necessary for the project. That mistake can be costly. If a company hires and trains an employee only to not need them months later, both the cost to fire them and the cost to keep them on are quite high.

SasS companies often hire local talent to perform certain tasks, but those employees soon find themselves performing other duties that take them away from their core responsibilities. As time goes on, and when pressure for growth and development mounts, employee motivation to complete those peripheral job functions eventually decreases. When employee motivation deteriorates, so does progress.

Outsourcing jumpstarts your project’s development and alleviates your hiring challenges by bringing in other teams to take on those peripheral job functions that must be completed while ensuring local employees focus on their core responsibilities. Outsourcing allows team members to focus on growing the business without getting bogged down in menial tasks. Since companies must grow to succeed, outsourcing can help. – Read more

SaaS Products: How To Get Your First Users

My Post - 2019-04-24T115210.967.jpgProducts, platforms and apps: Moving to the cloud and providing a centralized service for your company is increasingly the way to go for many entrepreneurs.

Clients and customers don’t need to worry about maintaining infrastructure, handling updates or training staff on setup and maintenance. It should be an easy sell, but with so much existing SaaS competition, how can your business get those all-important first users? Here’s what I’ve learned.

Engage Communities Of Beta Users

It should come as no surprise that with a globally connected internet, there’s a community for everything. This includes communities of users dedicated to watching new startups and new product launches. Sites like Betalist, Launch Feed, UserTesting and even some Reddit subs are all good places to engage early in your product launch.

These communities help to attract your first handful of users, who can offer valuable feedback for improving your offering before an open launch. They’re generally composed of experienced beta users who know what to look for and what to critique. They often have an interest in getting in on the ground floor of new products and trends. Many of these users can go on to become brand advocates, and some may even be interested in working for your company.

Set An Accessible Price

Pricing is important for any business, but it’s crucial for a startup. Free trials, especially generous free trials, help reduce the friction of signing up to test out a service in a way the traditional demos of the past never could. If the user chooses to become a paid customer later, make it a seamless process with no reinstallation, no authentication and no data migration required.

A limited free plan is also often a good idea. Two kinds of people use free plans: the ones who were never going to buy it in the first place, and the ones who will be more than willing to pay when their needs meet your limits. You lose nothing by maintaining free offerings. Plus, the more value you pack into your free offerings, the more users will be willing to pay for the premium service. – Read more

A Brief History Of IT Management: How SaaS Has Changed Everything

My Post - 2019-04-16T181402.365.jpgWhile many of us can’t imagine a world without computers at work, some can remember a time when landlines and faxes were the killer productivity apps.

Today, it’s hard to believe, since thousands of purpose-built software-as-service (SaaS) apps are instantly available for nearly every role in an organization.

With the rise of SaaS and cloud-based infrastructure has come a new set of challenges for IT management. Let’s take a look at the history of IT use at work, who’s managed IT and how the SaaS explosion has ushered in a new era of collaborative IT management.

Flipping The Switch: A Timeline Of Tech In The Workplace

While the internet was responsible for the proliferation of networked personal computers (PC) and devices in the workplace for all, the early days of PC adoption in the 1980s set the wheels in motion for IT’s broader usage across the organization.

Early PC Magic (1980s)

A look at the Computer History Museum’s timeline shows that the personal computer was born in the 1980s, with the first branded “PC” from Microsoft in 1981, followed by the Commodore 64 in 1982 and Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh in 1983 and 1984. Each year represented more magical leaps in innovation, from graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to the mouse to CD-ROMs and the C++ programming language.

In time, it became clear that computers were here to stay, as their functionality and operating systems got more sophisticated. – Read more