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May 27, 2009

Strategy springs from fear...

Just a few years ago Oracle and SAP were giving backhanded compliments to and the whole SaaS movement. They saw it as a non-issue. They believed their client base would hold together and that this upstart technology could not threaten their strangle hold on the worlds Enterprise resource markets.

Today both of them have a toe in the water via NetSuite and Business by Design.

At some point the threat of SaaS started to keep the leaders of these companies awake at night. The threat of decaying revenue streams, reducing profitability, and a shrinking market to try to get it back from.

So they joined the fray, and they were the first of the big players on teh field. The goal? if it is going to be, then try to control what it looks like. Try to influence the market to make sure that profitability and revenue is sustained at least.

Sudden death has always been a threat. Telegraph versus morse code. telephone versus telegraph, and email versus land mail.

Even today we see it in HD versus Bluray, VHS versus Betamax, Atari versus Nintendo.

What are you scared of? SaaS eating your industry footprint? Hotel chains giving away more stuff like movies, internet access and breakfast while maintaining quality? Competitors outsourcing their back office functions to drive down billing costs? Being commoditized as the recession forces out of work professionals into your field at reduced costs?

The list is endless...

If these things frighten you, if they are keeping you up at night and seem to be near inevitable - then do it first.

Start your own market before somebody else does it to you. Beef up the value chain of services you offer to separate yourself from the pack, get rid of (outsource) everything that takes up time and look to maximize your use of the free and cheap technologies that abound these days.

If you don't then somebody else will...