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The 20 Most Interesting SaaS Articles and Interviews of 2015

Some thoughts on the business-level of cloud service development.

· Cloud Zone

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2015 has been a monumental year for Cloud Technology and SaaS in particular. So much has happened, and so much has been discussed, and capturing the very best was not an easy task. Still, I managed to gather what I believe are the top 20 of 2015, from mistakes every SaaS vendor needs to avoid, to insights about the future of Microsoft. 

1. The Illusion of Product/Market Fit for SaaS Companies 

In this article, Brad Feld of FeldThoughts outlines just why the “product/market fit” phrase is nothing but a phrase. Feld begins by giving us a short history lesson, on how this phrase came to be. Then, he moves on to bust four product/market fit myths, including the infamous: “Once you achieve product market fit, you can’t lose it.” Later on, he cleverly tackles its overuse and inappropriate use by SaaS companies on a regular basis.

2. 6 Customer Onboarding Mistakes to Steer Clear Of

In Jason Silberman’s article, he looks at some of the most common onboarding mistakes that we’ve all made, but can certainly all learn from. From making promises we can’t keep to slow response times, these mistakes are repetitive but preventable, and Silberman’s article helps us understand why.

3. Skepticism to Backbone in 15 Years: How SaaS Shaped the New Enterprise Security

In this article, Kara Drapala follows the path of SaaS to the essence of new enterprises. She takes the reader on a journey down memory lane, to the point where the benefits of SaaS began to outweigh the skepticism. Drapala shows how SaaS has become essential for new enterprise, by outlining the 3 main qualities of SaaS that are the key to its massive growth: speed, cost and maintenance.

4. 8 Advanced Tips for Never Losing SaaS Customers

Neil Patel’s article outlines 8 important tips that will allow you to be more transparent, rewarding and proactive. That way, he says, we can best fight the churn demon. He mentions how saying you have a “great product” or “killer customer service” is not enough, and offers his “advanced tips,” including enhancing customer engagement and being proactive about expired or cancelled credit cards.

5. VC Pete Sonsini on ‘Unicorn’ Imbalance, NEA’s Record Fundraising

Are we living in a “unicorn bubble?” This insightful interview, conducted by Cromwell Schubarth, gives us a glimpse into the view point of venture capitalist Pete Sonsini, as he discusses the trends leading the SaaS industry. Sonsini tackles some of the burning questions, such as how long would the dissonance between IPOs and M&A slowdowns and rising startup funding levels will go on. This, makes this interview a must read!

6. The Rule of 40% For a Healthy SaaS Company 

In this article by FeldThoughts, they look at the requirements for a successful SaaS company, while focusing on the 40% rule for growth rate and profit. According to this rule, a company’s growth rate and profit should add up to 40%, so if you are growing at 20%, you should be generating a profit of 20%. If you are growing at 40%, you should be generating a 0% profit. If you are growing at 50%, you can lose 10%. If you are doing better than the 40% rule, that’s awesome.


7.  6 Leaders Share the Secrets to SaaS Startup Success

In this article, Aaron Orendorff presents some key secrets for SaaS Startup success, given by the industry’s best. One by one, he presents 6 powerful quotes, and then emphasizes the takeaway for the reader. From concentrating on churn, and building relationships to making a strong first impression, these pieces of advice are sure to make a difference.

8. Lack of Vendor Visibility Is Number One Pain Point for Cloud Customers

SANS Institute survey about cloud costumers shows very different facts than what I thought, and this article summarizes the important aspects of that research.

The main argument in this article, by James Bourne, is that lack of vendor visibility is causing frustration among users and I even touched on the subject on the last article in this list as well.

9. Windows 11 is Ready for Download, Click Here to Upgrade

“Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10” – This monumental quote was said by no other than Jerry Nixon, Microsoft’s developer evangelist. Click and discover the current and future implications of the World’s largest OS going cloud.

10. Goodbye, SaaS — hello, Containers-as-a-Service

There has certainly been a lot of thrill about containers as a service. The three foremost cloud suppliers, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, are all offering new CaaS (Containers-as-a-Service), products. Allowing some Docker container to run on their bandwidth, solving a main problem concerning IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) which requires additional system management and alignment, and PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) that is usually restrictive.

11. SaaS Companies Look To Change The Interface Of Web Design

Code free web designing platforms have taken the IT world by storm. These ingenious applications permit web designers to create website without in-depth knowledge on coding. These services significantly streamline the development process or in some cases altogether do away the services of a 3rd party developer. This article takes a closer look at this trend.

12. 4 Key Cyber-Security Trends to Watch

This piece by Glenn Solomon reminds us to take note of the growing trends in cyber-security. Some of the themes that he discusses are the return of endpoint security, the industrial internet, securing the cloud, and the human element to security. I found that the approach of continuous innovation in regards to security is a more realistic approach than the current “be-all, end-all” solutions that are promised today.

13. 11 Revenue Streams For SaaS Business

In this Forbes article, Neil Patel claims that there is an incorrect notion that SaaS by itself is profitable. In fact, he says, it only becomes so when teamed up with an effective revenue generation strategy, and this usually entails a shift from subscription based approaches to an upsell approach that improves client value. Patel then uncovers 11 ways for a SaaS business to increase revenue, including monthly subscriptions affiliating sales.


14. Rethinking Chargeback in the Era of Clouds

In this post, Paul Gillin explores how the cloud has changed the way IT implements chargeback. He explains that, for public cloud and SaaS, it’s easier to administer chargeback because costs can be broken down by individual machine or user account. The author offers pros and cons for various breakdown options, then raises the question we should all ask ourselves: “is chargeback really necessary in 2015?”

15. Back To The Future In Enterprise SaaS Selling

Hindsight is 20/20. Nino Marakovic and Rajeev Dham show us that even successful SaaS business founders can look back at what they would have done differently.

There is a day in a life of all successful startups where they realize that what once worked simply won’t allow them to scale, and they start exploring increasing ACVs and selling to larger enterprises. If they already have a more traditional enterprise GTM infrastructure in place then they are well-positioned to spur the next phase of growth.

16. Big Data-as-a-Service Is the Next Big Thing

This article by Bernard Marr is a real eye opener, covering the latest developments in the SaaS- Big Data intertwinement. It explores the opportunities offered in such a combination, and clarifies the needs for future corporation when it comes for comprehensive real time big data analytics.

17. DHL: How a logistics firm evolved to provide ‘software as a service’

Segueing from our last topic about big data, DHL decided to create an in-house team to develop their own SaaS solution to upload supply chain network data to provide a real-time view of risk. Read this interesting article by Margi Murphy, covering this move.

18. Don’t Do SaaS In A Vacuum

 According to this interesting article by Carol Hildebrand, in a digital world where SaaS inevitably meets PaaS, cloud based companies must prepare to further integrate the products they make into a cross platform viable solution. Hildebrand discusses this matter, acknowledging that today, many companies are struggling to integrate that isolated SaaS data into larger corporate systems, or pull pieces into a mobile or cloud-based app. 

19. SaaS: Key Pricing Considerations

SaaS solutions are attractive to customers because they substantially reduce the upfront investment and risk associated with licensing and implementing on-premises software, and avoid the ongoing costs of maintaining the infrastructure and implementing upgrades for the licensed software. According to this article, in a SaaS solution, those costs and risks are transferred to the supplier.

20. 5 Tips for Getting Millennials Onboard your SaaS Program

Why are Millennials the key demographic that SaaS companies should focus on? For one, they are quickly making up a larger share of your total userbase. However, it is more than just a shift towards a younger generation; it is a shift in ideology. Millennials approach information much differently compared to Boomers.  Check out this article to understand why.

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Published at DZone with permission of Omri Erel, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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