SMB Samba

Even SMBs have inertia. I have been waiting for a solid uptick in cloud services adoption by Small and Mid-Sized Businesses (SMBs).  Yet a recent report from Microsoft indicates that SMBs are not yet adopting SaaS and cloud services at a blistering pace.  Then again, given Microsoft’s rapidly plunging market value, maybe their survey sample included only Microsoft loyalists … both of them. According to 3,258 respondents representing companies with less than 250 employees, fewer than 40% plan on paying for cloud services in the next few years, though this is a full 10 points higher than in Microsoft’s previous poll. They also report that those SMBs with their heads in the clouds are doubling the number of services which they rent.  The analysis suggests that cloud adoption will be gradual and, given SMB investments into non-cloud infrastructure, a hybrid model will persist. In the absence of established infrastructure, small … Continue reading


The concepts of “free” and “sex” sell more products than all other promotional elements, and if you are offering free sex people will line-up at your door. SaaS companies, among others, like “free” lead generation.  Most SaaS providers give away a limited version of their offering to collect people’s contact info and build long-term connections to the product.  Their grand scheme is always to up-sale freeloading bottom feeders into paid accounts.  Yet most SaaS companies have no plan of action for up-selling. It’s a SaaS underpants gnome problem. One of the problems is that online up-selling is a target moving faster than the one on Osama bin Laden’s back (we will get ya, boy).  Rules that made sense when Marc Benioff first started pimping do not apply today.  There is no template, just a growing list of things to stop doing. The most prevalent mistake made in up-selling is … Continue reading

Social Smarts

I love technology fads.  If I could just think of a way to profit from the inevitable failure of enterprises trying to implement them, I could retire … to my own private island. Social networking is more than a fad, though the surrounding hype makes it sound like one (with the possible exception of Twitter, a fad that I hope will fade fast).  Social networking serves a real purpose, namely uniting people who have common connections.  Facebook facilitates all types of unions from the common to the outrageous (if you can get jihadists to threaten you, then you know you have some power in the world).  The secret to social media systems is that they let people decide what common connections are important and that do not occur through nominal daily activities. Which is why most corporate social media experiments have been misguided wastes of your bonus check.  Corporate life … Continue reading

SaaS Survives

We may be in a recession, but has decided not to participate. Last week SalesForce submitted financial reports covering the three deepest months of the current downturn. From February through April, SalesForce saw their revenues rise 23% and their net income nearly double, climbing 92%. They also announced that SalesForce is the U.S. economy and that Marc Benioff would ascend to the papal throne. Defying economic gravity is considered a miracle on Sandhill Road. We should not be surprised by this quarter’s occurrence. When in recession, companies and consumers alike reduce risk while attempting to expand opportunity. SaaS offers a reduction in risk for implementing a CRM system. Since SalesForce is currently absconding with nearly 10% of all CRM revenues and is thus the undisputed heavyweight of the SaaS CRM industry, 3,900 new customers instinctively turned to them in early 2009. Another angle is that in tough economic eras … Continue reading