Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Entrepreneurship and the Enablement Economy

At its best, the Software-as-a-Service model is about enabling the success of customers

When focusing on one element of a SaaS provider to evaluate, it should not be the technology it is providing today but its commitment to finding new ways to succeed in the future. This kind of agility that goes beyond technology is why SaaS is so loaded with potential for entrepreneurs.

With the barriers to entering the communications market nearly eliminated, this next wave of entrepreneurs have an opportunity to focus on enabling the success of their customers through sourcing, developing and delivering the technologies they need. It is a mindset shift that is critical to leveraging the cloud delivery model to its fullest potential. This is about not just delivering features or functionalities, but helping customers to shape agile, efficient and successful businesses.

Engage, Educate, Enable, Succeed
The most exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs in the cloud is to use the flexibility it offers to co-create, refine and evolve new enterprise services. A SaaS provider has the freedom to change the services it offers with input from across the value chain, as long as they remain focused on the core aspect of their business where they add value: enablement. Whether they offer supply chain management software through to cloud communications, the service is a tool for their enterprise customers to drive efficiency, grow and increase profitability.

Services have been decoupled from infrastructure and that means more freedom to explore new ideas, innovations and business models. It also means sellers and buyers can have a greater influence on one another. An innovative SaaS provider can influence what their customers sell and how they sell while creating a feedback loop that sees services evolve rapidly to meet customer needs.

The relationship between the buyer and seller begins with outlining the business objectives of the customer and it's up to the SaaS provider to shape a service offering that will enable the customer to succeed. This takes a consultancy-based sale and evolves it into an ecosystem that extends beyond the point of sale.

At its most advanced, the SaaS provider can work with customers to co-create and develop the services that will ultimately help meet their business objectives. That is the goal. Not delivering a new technology but clearly having impact within the customer's business and measuring the results of the engagement. When business and IT become aligned, the SaaS provider has to become increasingly adept at using their service platform to influence their customer's businesses.

It also works the other way. SaaS providers learn from customers and at the same time play a role in educating their customers to ensure that they are using the services effectively or, in the case of the channel, are skilled in selling the new services being provided. If it will help the customer to achieve its goals, the SaaS provider can educate its customers' sales staff and arm them with new skills to take these services to market. In this way, enablement means extending the relationship to include not just learning from customers but guaranteeing the success of the operation through education and sharing experience and expertise.

Entrepreneurs in Enablement
The opportunity for entrepreneurs is in creating businesses focused on shared value that evolves the enterprise IT channel model to best use the characteristics of the cloud. This is about focusing less on shifting units or seats and more on creating sustainable and profitable businesses dedicated to helping customers transform their operations and increase profitability.

Why would an entrepreneur be interested in this space? SaaS businesses that are focused on enablement have an advantage over competitors and deliver unique advantages. The closeness that they develop with their customers gives them high rates of customer retention and stickiness as well as a rapid path to differentiation.

Technologies and services will always change but if the business is dedicated to finding new ways to serve customers and evolve their offering then they will always be relevant. If a service provider anticipates emerging customer demand combined with listening and reacting to customer feedback, these customers don't need to look elsewhere for new services. Price comparison also is not central to decision making, ensuring that they do not compete on price but rather on the quality of the service they offer and the real business results they enable for customers.

Similarly, they are able to differentiate their offerings in the long term with more customers feeding into their service creation and refinement, making it easy to anticipate the needs of new customers. This in turn helps them to win more business.

By focusing on using cloud services to enable the success of customers, they create an ecosystem where customers get better services based on feedback and development while new customers become easier to obtain because their needs can be anticipated. Costs of sale are mitigated by long-term relationships, which increase profitability, and the business is able to tap recurring revenue streams.

While this might not appear as exciting as the success stories from the consumer communications market like WhatsApp, focusing on enablement builds dynamic businesses that are flexible and largely future-proof. The model works hard for both the buyer and the seller.

An Evolution
The cloud is ready to enter a new phase of its evolution where the technology is understood and the advantages are leveraged to build a healthy value chain. Entrepreneurs who recognize the opportunity to building businesses around enablement will have a lasting impact on their customers and the market.

SaaS has demonstrated how service development and management can sit outside of a business but that's only the first step. Thinking bigger about how enterprises are served and matching technology to business results is an exciting and logical progression. It will open new doors for both SaaS providers and customers to grow together and intertwine a value chain that has previously run from A to B from the provider to the customer.

The future IT and communications services delivered via the cloud will be shaped by the entrepreneurs that go beyond just the technology and look at how the relationship can develop. Enterprise customers simply want better solutions to meet their needs and are ready to work with providers that have a new approach dedicated to their success.

More Stories By Alan Rihm

Alan Rihm is CEO, managing Partner, and a member of the CoreDial, LLC board. He sets strategic direction for the company, and works closely with the board and management team to fulfill on the team’s commitment to its “hedgehog strategy” (see Jim Collins book ‘Good to Great’ for more on this concept).

Alan organized the spin-off and formation of CoreDial, and joined the company as CEO in 2005. He has been instrumental in establishing the company as one of the leading services delivery platforms for private label cloud communications. Under his leadership the company has experienced tremendous revenue and channel partner growth, as well as industry leading sales and operational key metrics.

Alan has been a successful entrepreneur in the Philadelphia region since 1995, and has a deep background in guiding software and service companies to critical mass and profitability. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...