The As a Service trend was started by the software industry which has now mostly been realised. Microsoft has transitioned successfully into a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, for example. One of the defining components of this new world is that its products are now offered as services.
There are many other components and not all come from the software industry. But as software starts to eat the world, many are driven from there and many industries are starting to feel the effects, listen and act.
As a veteran of the SaaS space, having worked in several startups and now Microsoft, I’ve learned many lessons and seen this trend evolve. As it crosses the chasm to other industries, I am capturing the trend, capabilities and strategies needed to succeed in a soon to be published eBook (others here).
The As a Service Iceberg
Some of the components that go into the As a Service Iceberg alongside Products to Services:
💎 Customer Solutions: This is the outward manifestation of all of the others and it is about solving problems or meetings needs. No longer is something purchased just for the intrinsic value but what it will help a person or organisation achieve and how.
💎 Customer Success: A practice started with the SaaS movement and made up of a crack team that doubles down on the customer, focuses on driving outcomes, etc. More here.
💎 Products to Services: Even tangible products can be open to “servicification” and subcribed to. Razors for personal grooming, cars for transport, fork lifts for logistics, etc.
💎 Technology Ecosystems: Technology is fundamental to all of the solutions because of the connection it provides to data, between customer and provider, to physical things, etc.
💎 Data Driven: Collecting data (with the customers permission) and understanding usage so that it drives greater insight that in turn drives better products and services.
💎 User Experience: This requires and end to end mindset and practice that tracks the journey the customer takes and optimises it at every touchpoint to maximise solutions.
💎 Subscription Economics: This is concerned with changes in business models, how the customer purchases (mostly in recurring cycles) and all that is aligned to this long term.
All of these components (and others although these are the main ones) will be elaborated on in the trend report.
What others are saying
Geoffrey Moore (author of Crossing the Chasm). “So how can a midsize manufacturer ‘break on through to the other side’ …? Their best bet is to take a page out of the SaaS vendors’ playbook and deploy a customer success function.” More in this video.
McKinsey and Company. Introducing customer success 2.0: The new growth engine
KPMG. Reimagine Places: Mobility as a Service (pdf)
Some of what is needed
🚀 Digital transformation efforts are critical for success and at the heart of the most successful efforts is business model innovation. Currently most efforts fall short and greater visionary leadership is needed to drive efforts across the entire organisation.
🚀 Business model innovation will make the greatest impact and this is necessary because in this fast paced world of accelerating change, the greatest impact creates the most value. And as value decays at an ever increasing pace, you will constantly need to reinvent and innovate your business models
🚀 There will be powerful forces holding you back and being aware of these forces of inertia is the start to overcoming them. Mastering change and building elasticity and capability to manage it is the first great task. Then finding the right people and building the right culture.