According to Okta, companies with 2,000 employees or more, deploy an average of 187 software applications to run their businesses. This is often referred to as the Cambrian-explosion of SaaS apps, but it highlights several themes in enterprise software, that make technology partnerships more important then ever.
Trends in enterprize software
- Best-of-breed apps
Gone are the days when most of a companies software came from one vendor. Thirty years ago many companies could run their business using applications from a handful of vendors - Microsoft, Lotus, IBM. This made sense before software was delivered over the internet. Now, users want to have a best-of-breed app for their specific need. This started with Salesforce for CRM, but there are now numerous examples of these types of apps - Jira (Software Development), Hubspot (Marketing), Slack (Communications), Looker (BI), Coupa (procurement), etc.
In this new world, tech partnerships are vital. Customers expect all of these tools to "play nicely" together which requires integrations, playbooks, aligned roadmaps and strategic partnerships.
- Consumerization of B2B Software
Before technology was part of our everyday life, B2B software was not very user friendly. It was often slow, confusing, hard to learn, and had lots of features that were never used. Once laptops and smart-phones made software central to our lives, peoples expections of their B2B applications changed. They expect software to be fast, easy to use, intuitive and fit-for-purpose.
In this world, partnerships and integrations are vital. Imagine the YouTube app not working on an iPhone? Or the Chrome browser not working on a Windows PC? All of these experiences are powered and improved by partnerships.
- Changes in buyer behavior
The trend toward SaaS vs. traditional software license purchases has been a huge trend over the past two decades. In 1999, Salesforce launched their customer relationship management (CRM) platform as the first SaaS solution built from scratch.
In the SaaS world, products no longer have customer lock-in, as people can churn off your product at any time. Strategic partnerships that fill gaps in your product portfolio are vital, and help to keep customers engaged, satisifeid and not looking at competing solutions.
- Go-to-Market Improvements
Partnerships can help to significantly improve how you can effeciently take your products to market. By forming the right relationships you can do things like entering new regional markets, serve new industries, go up (or down) market in terms on the customer segments you can address, improve your brand positioning, etc. The right partner can have a measurable impact on your ability to serve more customers.
Things move fast in business these days. Companies get acquired, "buzzy" start-ups become unicorns, mature companies launch new products, products get divested so companies can focus and much more.
Having the right set of partnerships can help you navigate this ever-changing landscape and gives you more options than you would ever have by working independently.
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