SaaS: Separating fact from fiction

“Mythbusters” was, perhaps, the greatest television show ever created.

Over the course of 15 years and nearly 300 episodes, the hosts of this science program tested the truthfulness of rumors, urban legends, movie scenes, adages and news stories that many of us blindly accepted. And each time they busted or verified one of these myths, they not only entertained us, but they reminded us about how little we actually do know about, well, everything.

Even in a time when we can turn to our phones to look up the answer to nearly any question that we imagine, we humans are still prone to misconceptions and can easily fall victim to misinformation or outright lies.

Can Pop Rocks and soda make your stomach explode? What’s the best way to survive in a falling elevator? Would a penny dropped from the Empire State Building be able to kill someone?

After watching just a few episodes, you quickly begin to realize how much misinformation is running around in the world. And that misinformation doesn’t only exist in the world of viral internet videos, urban legends and TV tropes. There’s also a lot of misinformation out there regarding technology. And the more innovative and “futuristic” the technology – such as software as a service (SaaS) – the easier it is for these myths to take root.

Recently, we sat down with a few of our Business Partners to discuss their experiences on their SaaS journeys. They recounted some of the triumphs and insights that they uncovered along the road. And they also took the time to refute a couple of myths that they had run across.

Myth: It’s all or nothing.

Many Business Partners labor under the misconception that their transition to a SaaS model has to happen overnight. That they’ll have to uproot all of their existing systems and processes and instantaneously transform their business.

But the switch to SaaS can take as long as you (and your clients) need it to. To be mindful of this reality, we’ve taken measures to empower you to take your SaaS journey at your own pace. For example, we offer a Bridge to Cloud licensing model that allows you to explore and utilize both on-premises and cloud-based versions of our offerings simultaneously – without added costs. So with this program, you can more precisely control when you shift to the cloud.

And in all honesty, a gradual transition will allow you to better prepare your solutions and customers for the SaaS model. In the meantime, take advantage of your existing, traditional delivery strategies, using that revenue to plan for future innovations.

At least, that’s the approach that IBM Business Partner Talevation has pursued. When discussing Talevation’s SaaS journey, Scott Abbott, Cofounder and Managing Partner of the firm, encourages businesses to not move too quickly from their traditional delivery models. “Take that as long as you can,” he encourages. “Your customers need you to do it. You need to do it. But at the same time, then figure out a [SaaS] product. Figure out a market. And then set up a good plan.”

Myth: There’s no money in SaaS.

Another common fallacy that many businesses hold is that there is no profit in moving to a SaaS model. But Michael Thies, IBM Software Manager at IBM Business Partner CDW, starkly disagrees.

“Once your customer is committed to you, it offers you protection,” Thies explains. “And the margins are much better on years two, three and onward with the SaaS portfolio compared to the renewal revenue that we’re seeing with traditional subscription and support.”

Another IBM Business Partner, Data41, holds similar views. “Slowly, with time, that SaaS revenue that’s being generated is growing,” explains Hans Mize, president and founder of the company. “And its growing naturally rather than us [having] to go through unnatural acts to accommodate a change. What’s nice is once you get the solution in house, it tends to become a fixture. Once you prove that value, it tends to be a fixture.”

And for those businesses concerned that IBM might eat into too much of their profits under a joint SaaS model, Thies offers some assurances. “There have been some fantastic changes that the IBM Business Partner community has made,” he adds. “They now have Deal Registration that went into place in October of 2018, and it offers protection for you – for those Business Partners that have identified the deal.”

Myth: All cloud providers are the same.

Cloud and SaaS are intricately linked, and your SaaS model is only as strong as the underlying infrastructure that supports it. That’s why we’ve invested a great deal of effort into making IBM Cloud an architecture that offers reliable, security-rich support and that helps manage compliance efforts.

Never forget that the second “s” in SaaS stands for “service.” And in many cases, the success (or failure) of a SaaS strategy relies on the quality and consistency of the underlying service.

“They get infrastructure,” expands Abbott when discussing the move to IBM Cloud. “They get the core technology so that we’re not dealing with hassles, and things going out at night, and some of the little things that can happen with startup companies that maybe provide a similar service.”

If you’d like to see our partners bust some more myths, check out the full YouTube playlist. And to learn more about what we’ve done to help accelerate the SaaS journey for our partners, read our recent blog. Conversely, if you’re looking to develop your own service, we’ve identified a number of our offerings that are SaaS ready.

No matter where you are on your SaaS journey, we’d love to help you find your way.

Hear our partners’ stories