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

The ICT world is staggeringly immense and full of chaos, complications and confusion for many business leaders.

It’s why I wrote ‘Doing IT for Money’, a book that’s now helped set thousands of people on a path to an exceptional digital future and improved profitability.

It’s based on my FASES methodology and takes a pragmatic, non-technical look at how best to leverage all that the technology revolution has to offer.

FOUNDATION – Systems | Solutions | Strategy

This is the core of your ICT function, the backbone of your business without which you can’t survive. It looks at how you manage and apply the many tools available to your business and marketing goals.

ASSISTANCE – Equip | Educate | Encourage

Technology is an enabler. It’s there to help your team solve their problems. So put them at the centre and give them the tools they need, on going development and leadership to encourage and drive their technology use.

SIMPLIFY – Procedures | Processes | Practices

Deliver greater efficiency through innovation and incremental change, and limit your exposure to staffing volatility and other events that can impact the smooth running of your business.

ENGAGE – Customer | Connect | Collaborate

Use the many tools available to communicate with customers, prospects and suppliers. Build an ecosystem that empowers them and helps them help themselves to increase customer lifetime value.

STRENGTH – Invest | Innovate | Iterate

Look to the future and see how ongoing development of your ICT assets will continue to give you an edge over your rivals.

Exceptional digital futures don’t happen by chance. They need structure and digital leadership.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership

Whether you’re a  CEO, CFO COO or whatever, business today demands digital leadership.

Those who haven’t yet worked this out will very soon be little more than anachronisms. Dinosaurs and analogue remnants of a quaint time gone by when pen, paper and the manual calculator were the tools of the trade.

The world of tomorrow will be full of many challenges as yet unidentified. There will be job roles we haven’t yet thought of, and technologies the likes of which we might only dare to imagine.

SaaS platforms today are in their infancy. Cybersecurity is an ever increasing threat. And the technology skills shortage is only going to get bigger as we charge head long in to our digital future.

The winners in this race will be the teams that are prepared. The ones positioning themselves ready for whatever may eventuate. Those whose leaders are working towards an exceptional digital future.

Are you?

Take my quiz and let’s see.

I’ll send you a personalised review and a copy of my bestseller Doing IT for Money if you do.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership

Mantras in the business world are ten a penny, my own included.

Everyone with an opinion has one and if they don’t, they can roll out half a dozen from other people.

The trouble is, these ideas sneak in to popular culture and then they’re repeated robotically, often by those who don’t understand their provenance.

“Done beats perfect”, is one that’s popped a few times of late, most recently when talking to a SaaS business leader.

And you know what?

When it comes to building a Software platform, “done beats perfect” is dangerous horseshit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for a moment advocating for perfection at all costs, but if you run your project from the point of view of just getting it done, you’re asking for trouble, and your cost of ownership is about to go through the roof.

I’ll explain.

Imagine you’re building a house and you’re getting ready to pour the foundations.

Getting it done is undoubtedly important, but done right is more so.

Then there’s the walls.

Done is important, but done right is more so.

Then you put the roof on, first fix electrics and plumbing.

All need to be done and done right.

And then there’s the decorating, and who ever told their painter to just slap some paint on the walls and do a shitty job?

Spot a mistake with any of these and you may compromise and spend a big pile of cash to work around the flaw, but some must be fixed and the more structural the problem, the more expensive the resolution.

Every one will increase your cost of ownership

And as ever, you can only spend your time and money once, so if you’re lavishing it on fixing up your costly errors, other income generating activities are being passed by.

So, the challenge for SaaS and business leaders is to find the balance where everything is done and perfect…enough

The question is, do you have the experience to do this?

If you don’t, message me.

I can show you the way.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership

Business leaders, how do you know what the best Software solution is?

Obviously the people who sell things for a living are keen to give you their perspective, but they’re often far from objective, and with literally thousands of new SaaS platforms coming online every year, you’re somewhat spoilt for choice.

Capterra, G2 and more will offer their opinion, but they have a minimum of 10 of everything and each with loads of starts and many rave reviews.

What most do is assign someone to take a look.

They might run a feasibility study.

Come up with a short list.

Maybe they’ll select three or four for a demo or even a trial.

This means prospects are well over half way through the buying process, before they engage with the vendor.

When they do what they’ll see is some offerings that all seem pretty much the same, and of course that’s going to be the case.

They are, after all, in the same market, solving very similar problems, so they’ll all have much the same set of features and functionality. And if that’s the case, and it generally is, how do you choose?

Well, it’s not that hard, and no, this is not a situation where you should be thinking about the price.

When it comes to software, IMPLEMENTATION IS EVERYTHING.

The best solution then is the one that helps you implement it effectively.

If the vendor can help you with training, evangelists, support and mentoring, you can lead from the front and encourage the team to get on board.

Do that, and you’ll get have the best software and the best value from your investment.

B2B SaaS vendors take note.

If you’re looking at the technology, you’re very much missing the point.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership

Quality, Function and Price keep your stool on the level.

But get one leg out of whack and the stool falls over.

No one ever gets all three to meet their expectations, so if you’re creating a #SaaS platform, which one gets to suffer?

You could scrimp on quality to meet the budget.

But customers generally don’t like that.

You could reduce functionality.

But they don’t like that much either.

Or you pay more for better quality and function

But I don’t suppose you’ll be overly keen on that.

It’s the right answer though!

Here’s why.

If the budget is REALLY cast in stone, something’s going to have to give and functionality is the right choice.

Customers are patient people for the most part, and if they like the rest of the product, they’ll wait for the new toys they can see on your roadmap.

But if you give them a tool that doesn’t work, not only will they will go elsewhere, your reputation will take a beating too.

Ideally then, you should deliver a high quality, functional product.

It might cost more than you want to spend, but it will be a worthwhile investment.

SaaS, as I regularly remind my clients, is all about playing the long game, and you should be aiming to be here in 10 years from now.

Any additional spend will be long forgotten by then.

Poor customer reviews though will haunt you for years.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership


Well, there are times when you should, but for most SaaS founders, it’s a bad idea.

And a very time consuming idea and costly one at that.

Founders often opt for an app because it’s what they know, but the software world continues to evolve and common practice is no longer best practice.

If you build an app, you have to make 2 versions, one for Android and another for iOS.

Modern tools simplify this, but there’s still both Google and Apple markets to deal with.

More importantly, you don’t have a browser version, and for B2B platforms that’s far from ideal, and a working day is far more likely to be spent on a laptop than a phone.

So if you want coverage on there, you’re going to need to build a third variant.

That might not be too much grief in the beginning, but long term, it’s a ball and chain.

A wholly unnecessary expense that will stay with you forever.

Best practice for most today is to build a PWA or progressive web app.

This will run happily just about everywhere and it doesn’t need approval from anyone.

It can even be downloaded to a desktop.

It’ll run offline too, assuming your developers code for the scenario.

Apps may have been the thing just a few years ago, but today, they’re yesterday’s news.

#MrSaaSSays #DigitalLeadership

Money and liquidity are BIG problems for SaaS ventures.

Many grossly understimate the cost of development, going to market and building a user base.

Even if they’ve built an MVP, the cost of staying on the market is huge.

Development, marketing, sales, admin and living costs continue, and they all consume precious resources.

It’s why 10 out of 11 software ventures fail within 3 years.

For many, this lack of cash isn’t necessary though.

They have a good idea and access to the right people to help them execute it.

There’s just one thing in the way.


They’re not willing to share the wealth.

They want to keep their valuable IP all for themselves so they can reap all the rewards and be the next Atlassian.

In reality for most that’s just not going to happen.

They need to grow and that costs money.

Best then is to search for investors; some people who’ll chuck some cash in the pot for a slice of the pie.

There are plenty out there too.

Family, friends, private equity firms, venture capitalists et al.

But my favourites are clients.

They’re already invested emotionally and you both want the same thing: The continued success of your platform and the rewards it delivers.

Surely that’s worth giving away a little of your IP.