Saturday 21 November 2015

Why are you still driving a clunker ?

For a school or business that plans to adopt Software as a Service (SaaS) there can be a number of unexpected surprises. Fortunately, most are beneficial.

One of the benefits, examined in an earlier blog, is that SaaS can be used an agent of change.  Once the overheads of software support, deployment and maintenance are removed, innovation and experimentation can occur at a much faster pace.

The effect is like an adrenaline shot that can drive transformation, but there is an even more subtle advantage that has a longer term impact.

To illustrate the point, let's assume we purchase our IT like automobiles and look how different that would be "as a Service".

You need a car so you visit the local “on-premise” dealership. It's where your parents bought their car so it's a tried and tested approach. Why change?

It took a few months to get the money for the down-payment but the car’s finally parked on the drive.  It performs well, looks great and sparkles in the sunshine. You're going to really look after this 'baby' - after all, it’s a big investment, and you’re going to be paying it off for a while.

However, after a few years the car looks a bit tattered and worn and it's struggling to get up the hills with the kids and dog in the back. The servicing and maintenance never happened because the money was always needed somewhere else. You got caught out by some unexpected costs just after the warranty expired and the tyres needed replacing last month.

There’s a flashing red light on the dash but you’re scared to lift the hood just in case you really break something.

You can contact the dealership but you know that you're only going to pick up a bill or suffer a sales pitch about a competitive upgrade which will only replace a small problem now with an even larger problem later on.

In truth you’d just like to drive it into the lake but you still have to make the payments and you need it for work.

So you ignore the light on the dash, freshen it up with a few accessories, stick on a set of  ‘go-faster’ stripes and hope it just keeps going.

Face it, you’ve got a clunker - but there's another scenario.

You walk past the 'on-prem' dealership and happen to glance into the SaaS showroom where a car takes your eye. When you get home it’s standing on your drive.

There’s no forecourt dealer selling you the dream. You just drive the car round for a while to see if it suits and if doesn't, you can drop the keys off with no obligation.

However you really like this car and you're surprised that the payment plan has no up-front charges, just a simple scheme whereby you pay when you use it and can hand it back at any time.

Every morning the car still looks fresh and new. You never take it to the car wash but somehow it maintains that showroom look and never smells of stale pizza. You sometimes get a red light on the dash but it fixes itself straight away.

Now here’s the really weird thing, You swear the car is getting quicker and you notice new features appearing all the time. You didn’t order the model with the cup holder but now it just has one!

The version you bought a year ago was the GT option but the badge now says GTi Sport which is strange because the payments are the same and you don't remember spending any time in the garage.

You suddenly realise that you’ve been driving the car for two years but have no plans to replace it. It still looks clean, fresh and modern, and is performing really well so there’s no reason to.

OK - you can't do this with cars, but you can with your IT.

So why are you still driving a clunker ?

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