As cloud (computing) looms over the businesses of all sizes and shapes, there is a fear that machines are slowly cutting out humans from the workforce. Even though it is partly true, businesses are finding niche areas where the human expertise and machine based automation are both considered to be an asset. One such area is renewal management. During the recent Dreamforce conference, I came across a company focussed on renewals management, by name ServiceSource, who combine the advantages of the cloud with human expertise to offer services to many different verticals from IT to Healthcare and Life Sciences.
Even though license renewals were a big problem in the product dominated world, it is even more critical in today’s service centric world. For starters, renewals may appear to be of less importance but it is very critical in a world where services are fast becoming the norm and that too across many different fields. The problem facing service providers are many-fold:
- The existing software are more focussed on a product-centric world than service centric world. The same appears to areas of specialization too.
- There is a very limited view in the industry at this point of time about how the whole process works
- More importantly, there are very few standard metrics or established best practices
- If we add to the above, the fragmentation of customer data among different software and the complexity added due to M&As and channels, the problem becomes really big and crucial to the very bottom line of the service provider’s business
- The complexity also increases multi-fold for SaaS providers where the subscription terms vary from free to monthly to quarterly to yearly to, even, multi-year contracts
As we move towards cloud based services, it is quite natural for us to expect a SaaS offering which can efficiently handle the renewal management. Some of the complexities mentioned above makes even SaaS based offerings limited in scope. Moreover, technology cannot be the only solution in a market segment where there are few metrics and limited established practices. This opens up an opportunity for the old fashioned human expertise based approach along with solutions based on cloud technology. ServiceSource is taking this exact same approach.
ServiceSource blend their expertise in Sales, in general, and renewals management, in particular, with a cloud based platform to offer services to their customers. When a customer comes to ServiceSource, their experts work with the customers to identify areas where the revenue could be boosted incrementally. They then take the data from disparate sources including CRMs and put it to a grind inside their service revenue intelligence platform, which is nothing but a data warehouse reflecting over 2 Million service revenue transactions. This is where the data from disparate sources are managed, The data is consolidated, cleaned and then fed into their multi-tenant cloud applications which can help maximize the productivity of their clients’s service sales and operations. These applications are:
- Analytics Cloud
- Service Sales Cloud
- Channel Sales Cloud
- eCommerce Cloud
The experts at ServiceSource work along with these applications to help in selling services globally, in the sales operations itself streamlining the processes and optimizing them with industry best practices and their expertise selling renewals for many years.
Why do I think ServiceSource’s offering is interesting
At Dreamforce 2010, they announced integration with Salesforce.com so that customers can access both the Salesforce data and ServiceSource data with a single login. This way, they can get data from many different sources and put it into one place. This not only creates a workspace for collaboration among different teams, it will also offer better insight on renewals management.
What attracted me after watching the demo of their platform and services was their approach to pricing. Instead of charging a fee based on their offerings, they charge a percentage of the renewal performance increase resulting from their services. This is a smart move and reduces the risk for their customers.
With big customers like CA, Isilon Systems, NEC, etc. and as they manage $5 Billion of their client’s revenues, ServiceSource has recently taken steps to file IPO.
- Cloud is changing the future of outsourcing: 1000 organizations have spoken (enterpriseirregulars.com)
- ServiceSource Grows More Than 40 Percent in the First Half of 2010 (eon.businesswire.com)
- ServiceSource Helps Isilon Systems Improve Service Revenue Performance (eon.businesswire.com)
- ServiceSource Helps Blue Coat Increase Service Renewal Rates in Asia-Pacific (eon.businesswire.com)
- CA Technologies’ Internet Security Business Unit Selects ServiceSource Channel Sales Cloud Application to Increase Service Revenue and Customer Loyalty (eon.businesswire.com)