Software Executive Magazine

December 2017

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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Page 37 of 43

Fulfilling The Software Value Proposition Product innovation alone won't fully engage and retain customers. T H O M A S J . S W E E N Y Principal and Founder, ServiceXRG create the next great product that we lose focus on how customers are using and applying our current products. Does the pace of innovation produce greater custom- er benefits? It is essential for software publishers to consider how much innovation their customers can ab- sorb and recognize when there are diminishing returns from the adoption of new versions. We need to consider the basic value proposition that defines the relation- ship with our customers and examine what services and policies are in the best interests of all. ADOPTION AND SUCCESS It is important to observe how products offered as-a- Service challenge the traditional software value prop- osition by emphasizing the adoption, use, and success of the application and not just the licensing and attach- ment of support and maintenance. This is not to suggest that before SaaS the industry did not care about making customers successful with their products. The differ- ence between a perpetual license sale and a subscrip- tion, however, is that the subscription must be sold then resold each time the subscription renews. The ability to here is no debate, however, that today's software industry is different. Distribu- tion, licensing, the velocity of innovation, and the diminished barriers to market en- try make the software industry feel different. For ev- erything that is different I contend that the software industry is exactly the same at its core. We still sell ap- plications (and subscriptions) to fulfill the expectation that customers can use and apply software to address real business challenges. The basic software value proposition persists. As an industry, how do we ensure that we can continue to meet the needs and expecta- tions of our customers? THE VELOCITY OF INNOVATION The software industry perpetuates a model that deliv- ers a constant stream of product updates and new ver- sions every 12 to 18 months, and in some cases far more frequently. While updates and new releases are critical for fixes, security updates, and enhanced performance and reliability, customers cannot always keep pace and absorb updates and releases. We have come to expect a rapid pace of technological innovation, but is this pace sustainable or even neces- sary to meet customers' needs? The time, effort, and investment customers make to get applications to a mature and stable state is significant. While customers want to keep their applications up to date, they may not have the means or desire to upgrade at the same rate as new versions are released. Sometimes we move so fast to T To all of you software veterans: Do you remember when software was sold and delivered on physical media; licensing was handled through license keys, dongles, and copy protection; and (almost) everything was owned in perpetuity? You sold a service contract and renewed it year after year. If the customer didn't call, all the better — it was like printing money. Was it really simpler back then? Perhaps, sim- pler, perhaps not — we can debate. It is not sufficient to assume that the features and functions of the application are enough to deliver the software value proposition. SELLING & MARKETING Framework By T. Sweeny FULFILLING THE SOFTWARE VALUE PROPOSITION SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM DECEMBER 2017 38

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