If you’re a #CEO, #CFO or similar, you can be forgiven for thinking that today’s massive technology upheaval means everything is new.

You’re wrong though.

I’ll explain.

A while ago, I shared a bottle of red or two with a couple of old #ICT friends. We all started our careers some 30 years ago or so, and as we’re prone to do from time to time, we reminisced about how it used to be. We remembered old colleagues, some of them madder than others, (And some of them were properly bonkers), and told funny (to IT guys, anyway) stories such as the apocryphal tale of the PC cup holder, or the lady I knew who used a hole punch on her 5.25″ floppy disks so she could store them safely in a ring binder.

It didn’t go well.

Anyway, at one point, the conversation turned to the enormous level of complexity of modern software applications, distributed systems, cloud solutions, #SaaS, and how they are so different from those of yesteryear.

But the more we talked about the differences, the more we realised how similar they actually are. In fact, we concluded that in our combined nearly 100 years in the industry, we’d only ever made software that does three things –

• It gets data from or writes it to a device of some kind
• It captures data and manipulates it in programs
• It presents data to the user on a screen or an alternative medium, e.g. printed on paper.

With sixty years of the modern IT industry reduced to an almost atomic level, we opened a bottle of scotch. Any further insights we may have had seem to have been permanently erased courtesy of Mr Macallan.

The point of this little tale is to highlight that while technology may keep changing, the purpose it serves remains largely unaffected. It’s still there to enable and empower the people who use it, and that’s why I keep saying that if you’re looking at the technology you’re missing the point.

Human-centricity is key to success and it lies at the heart of #DigitalLeadership.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership

A super-duper prospect wants you to make a few special changes to your #SaaS platform, just for them.

The question is, should you provide it?

To sweeten the deal, they offer to pay all your development, testing and delivery costs.

So all’s good and you should get on with it, right?

Hmm…not so fast.

You’re going to need a precise spec, and probably a few changes to contracts.

It’ll be a lot more effort getting the deal over the line, your risk levels increase and your cost of sale GOES UP.

Inconvenient for sure, but it’s nothing compared to your COST OF OWNERSHIP.

You now have 2 versions to look after and more importantly, a new line in the sand and a precedent.

So when another demanding super prospect comes along wanting yet more changes to your #software, you’ll rinse and repeat.

That’s 3 versions

Then 4, 5…

MORE code

MORE testing

MORE bugs


What happens when you try to enhance your core product?

You now have many versions to wrangle.

Will new features be compatible with custom versions?

More EXPENSIVE complications for you to manage, and all in all, a situation best avoided.

But what else can you do?

Saying no with a but is a very good start.

Assuming the wants are reasonable, they’ll add value to your offering and other clients will enjoy them too.

So offer to include them in your product as part of the deal.

Then prioritise the inclusion of the “must haves”.

This may delay things a little but it’s a WIN WIN.

You solve the client’s problems and they solve yours.

And that’s the start of a long lasting, mutually beneficial partnership.

And that’s as it should be, because success in SaaS is all about playing the long game.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership

Who doesn’t want a better tomorrow and a brighter digital future in our increasingly technological society?

It’s what the #CEO #COO #CFO et al are leading the team towards right?

One would hope so, but what if they’re not?

The problem is that we’re inherently ignorant and like most other animals, self-preservation is high on our todo list.

This makes us risk averse and it drives some fundamental behaviour.

It means we often hide in the crowd, enjoying our anonymity and comparative safety of numbers.

It means we sometimes choose to do nothing, putting our challenges in the too hard basket, kicking the can down the road.

It means we take the easy option, irrespective of its longer term effects, putting our immediate welfare ahead of what might follow.

But these actions do little more than help us hide and survive to fight another day.

So we hide, survive, fight, hide, survive, fight, hide, survive and fight.

A never ending cycle where we just fight, fight, fight and fight some more.

Yet this is how many business leaders approach their technology use.

They follow the crowd, buying @IBM, @Microsoft or whoever, and end up just like everyone else.

They put it in the too hard basket, embracing the status quo, putting as much off as they can until…whenever.

Or they play whack-a-mole, applying a bandaid and little more. Time for another spreadsheet?

I don’t know about you, but all that fighting must be draining.

Wouldn’t you prefer a less fraught existence?

One where innovation delivers real value and give you an edge.

One where incremental change lets you move forward with a series of small wins.

One where your tactical manoeuvres are part of a strategy for an exceptional digital future.

It sounds like a lot less effort me.

Today’s #SaaS and #Software options mean that leaders are spoiled for choice, but as ever, if you’re looking at the technology, you’re missing the point.

Without learning how to stop the cycle, you’re stuck in a constant battle.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership