When did you first hear about SaaS?
Around 15 years ago; I worked for a small design agency who were building singular systems and enclosed work, and not making much profit from it. The next client would come along, and we had to go through that process all over again.
My boss at the time was really into a book by 37 signals, who are the gurus of the agile SaaS movement, to some degree. It’s a small book that you could read in an hour or so, but it explains the model of owning a product yourself.
37 signals developed a product called Basecamp, and the whole ethos of Basecamp was that they didn’t build something unless it was on their road map. Regardless of how many clients may ask for something to be built, they were not going to unless it was a strategic co- decision.
How did SMLWRLD decide to adopt the SaaS model?
Since I’ve worked at SMLWRLD, we’ve always had this idea of ourselves as a client-services linked company. Even though we’ve always had an incredibly robust, well tested software platform, we were only building and delivering bespoke products.
Generally, the more customisable a product is, the more complicated it is to build, and to use, meaning we were committing considerable resources to each project.
Moving on to a SaaS model allows us to provide an intranet which, whilst not being as customisable as the sites we build for our large enterprise clients, will fulfil the needs of the majority of small to medium-sized businesses.
Having provided a number of customised Intranets, we now understand the fundamental elements that most companies require. By simplifying our product, whilst incorporating these elements, we’ve created a user-friendly system that is easy for a client to set up and maintain.
When Dan told me about the revelation he’d had, I think it was something that he’d already thought about. I guess at some point all of us had thought about having a product to sell, but it was through Dan’s epiphany that we could suddenly see the route through. It became obvious that the product we needed was a templated intranet, which we could turn into a scalable business model.
After we’d realised this, everything fell into place. In fact, everything we’d already been doing as a team had been leading up to this, without us even realising.