by Michael Speyer with Eric G. Brown, Emily Van Metre, and Christina Lee

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1 Includes data from Business Data Services, Client Choice SaaS Economics Will Change ISVs SI And VAR Channels Channel Managers: Retool Partner Programs To Prevent SaaS Delivery Disaster by Michael Speyer with Eric G. Brown, Emily Van Metre, and Christina Lee EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is restructuring software channel managers relationships with their implementation partners and reseller channels. The revenues that system integrators (SIs) receive from SaaS sales and implementation services are much smaller than those from traditional on-premise solutions of a similar size. The consulting skills required for successful SaaS project delivery are also different, with the emphasis on business change management and not on technical implementation. As SIs and VARs change their sales models and consulting skills sets in order to compete successfully in the SaaS world, traditional software vendors will need to nurture their channel partners as they develop SaaS sales and delivery capabilities. RESEARCH CATALYST Clients selected this topic for Client Choice research. SOFTWARE-AS-A-SERVICE IS CHANGING THE SOFTWARE INDUSTRY S BUSINESS MODELS While still in its infancy, deploying packaged apps like CRM and ERP as software-as-a-service (SaaS) is quickly gaining momentum (see Figure 1). Vendors like Salesforce.com and RightNow Technologies are experiencing remarkable growth, and SAP s launch of Business ByDesign adds more credibility to the idea of SaaS as a viable alternative to major on-premise applications. As SaaS drastically transforms the way businesses pay for apps, it also affects the business models and revenues of the systems integrators (SIs) and value-added resellers (VARs) that bring these apps to the market place. It involves: New business models for integrators and resellers. Continued SaaS adoption will require a healthy channel that can provide the sales and implementation coverage needed to reach a broader early majority audience. A new breed of systems integrator that specializes in SaaS delivery is emerging, bringing business models that are tailored to the economic realities of SaaS and that don t carry the baggage of traditional on-premise project delivery. We will refer to these system integrators as SI 2.0, and examples are companies like Appirio, Astadia Consulting, and Bluewolf. New channel programs for ISVs with SaaS offerings. Software publishers (ISVs) whose legacy is in on-premise solutions face the challenge of adapting their channels for SaaS sales and delivery, if and when they launch SaaS products. The challenge is that the SIs and VARs in their channels have well-established business models that won t easily adjust to SaaS. The ISVs have the choice of either Headquarters Forrester Research, Inc., 400 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA USA Tel: Fax:

2 2 assisting their SIs through a business model transition and/or developing an alternative SaaS channel. No matter what they choose, they run the risk of damaging parts of their channel and, in doing so, erecting a barrier to broader SaaS adoption. SaaS Will Take Money Off The Table For SIs and VARs The revenues that SIs will receive from SaaS projects are much smaller than from traditional onpremise projects. Except for data integration work, SIs will receive different revenues at all stages of SaaS project sales and delivery (see Figure 2). SIs that choose to develop SaaS practices will be surprised because: Overall project deal size will shrink by up to 75%. The relative size of software implementation projects are often measured by their drag ratio, which is the ratio of license revenues to revenues associated with project implementation. For SaaS projects, drag ratios ranges from 0.5x to 1.5x. For on-premise projects, drag ratios range between 3x and 5x. Because of the reduced drag ratio, the number of projects that an SI will need to deliver to maintain overall revenue parity must increase from an average of two to four per year to eight to 12 per year. Implementation skills will shift to business transformation projects. Rather than adapting packaged apps to a client s requirements, SaaS favors helping clients adapt their processes to the SaaS app s embedded best practice. 1 Getting customers to buy into this will require skilled business process and change management consultants who can build consensus among multiple stakeholders and guide them through change. As a result, the technical integration and customization services revenues shift to process transformation projects and into the coffers of SIs and VARs that have these consulting skills. Figure 1 North American Enterprise And SMB SaaS Adoption Is Primed For Growth How interested are you in adopting software-as-a-service? Currently using Currently piloting Planning to pilot in the next 12 months Very interested, but with no plans to adopt Somewhat interested Not at all interested 3% Enterprise 8% 5% 7% 34% 44% 1% 1% SMB* 9% 6% 22% 60% Base: 464 application software decision-makers at North American enterprises *Base: 551 application software decision-makers at North American SMBs (percentages do not total 100 because of rounding) Source: Business Technographics September 2006 North American And European Enterprise Software Survey *Source: Business Technographics September 2006 North American And European SMB Software Survey Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

3 3 Figure 2 SaaS Project Revenues Are Smaller Than On-Premise Project Revenues Revenues that SIs and VARs receive from on-premise and SaaS projects Revenue opportunity License and per-seat resale Business process change management consulting Implementation (setup and configuration) Software customization Data integration Post-delivery add-ons and extensions Overall deal size as a multiple of license or per-seat revenues On-premise Ten percent to 25% resale margin, depending on the product. This has always been a part of on-premise delivery but usually done to refine existing processes. Software is usually modified to fit the business process. Good opportunity. Projects run from six to 14 months. Good opportunity, depending on project size and complexity. Data integration into existing systems may be required. Good opportunity, especially in the enterprise and midmarket. 3x to 5x. SaaS Vendor dependent. Currently ranges from a one-time per-seat fixed-fee payment (worst case) to 30% or higher resale margin, with 30% renewal margin (rare). Strong opportunity. Key to successful SaaS project delivery because business will need to change their processes to match those built into the SaaS solution. Small opportunity. SaaS projects have relatively short delivery periods (four to eight weeks). None. Code is locked down by the ISV. Data integration into existing systems may be required. No opportunity because all upgrades are provided by the ISV. This may change over time as ISVs open up their platforms to allow third-party extensions and develop marketplaces for these solutions. 0.5x to 1x. Source: Forrester Research, Inc. SaaS Will Affect Some SIs More Than Others Software delivery by the SaaS model has a different value proposition for companies of different sizes. In very large enterprises, SaaS CRM is more often a complement to on-premise software, whereas in midmarket companies, SaaS CRM or ERP is a substitute for on-premise software. The implication is that the SIs that serve these different market segments will be affected differently. Specifically, SaaS will: Have the greatest impact on SIs and VARs that serve the medium and small business markets. Integrators that focus on the SMB market face the challenge of maintaining their onpremise practices while developing new SaaS practices. Those that are unable to pull off this balancing act risk seeing their overall revenues shrink, threatening the overall health of their businesses. SIs and VARs that serve the small business segment are at most risk because they

4 4 don t have the resources or skills needed to manage a joint on-premise/saas business and ramp up sales volume. VARs whose businesses are based on resale margins (as opposed to valueadded services) are also at risk, as the revenues associated with SaaS per-seat resale are smaller than traditional software licensing. Not materially affect SIs that serve the Global SaaS products as they are today rarely scale to the size that large multinationals require nor do they cater to the business process complexities that these companies have. In the case of multimillion-dollar CRM implementations that are expected to be used for seven to 10 years, SaaS is used in conjunction with on-premise solutions primarily to bring functionality cost effectively to far-flung geographies or as an interim on-ramp solution. SaaS projects in very large enterprises will require relatively smaller build teams as well as reduced project management and business analyst requirements. The work associated with data conversion or integration and business process change management consulting will remain largely unchanged. Additionally, downstream SaaS to on-premise conversions will provide additional revenue-generating opportunities for the SIs that serve this market. Midmarket SIs Will Develop New Business Models To be profitable, SIs that plan to offer SaaS solutions to the midmarket will radically change their business models. By 2011, SIs and VARs that have developed successful SaaS practices will have learned to: Rev up sales activity. Because SaaS projects have smaller revenues and shorter durations, SIs will need to increase sales volume to maintain revenues. These firms will bring different sales people on board who focus more on lead generation than on extended consultative selling. Hire different skill sets. SaaS implementations do not require highly technical people, although they may require consultants with data integration skills. Instead, seasoned business process management consultants will become the focus for successful project delivery, and the future SI 2.0 will need to hire them. Project managers will change their focus from managing a few lengthy projects to several short ones. For many SIs, finding consultants with the appropriate skills will be challenging and will hamper their efforts to transform to an SI 2.0. Some may try to share project management and implementation resources between traditional and SaaS projects, which will be tricky to manage because the projects are so different. Adjust to different cash flows. Cash flows from SaaS projects will be smaller and more frequent in comparison to traditional on-premise projects. Smoother cash flows may be more welcome but will require a getting used to period as business volume ramps up.

5 5 R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S ISVS MUST NURTURE THEIR CHANNELS WHEN INTRODUCING SAAS ALTERNATIVES To develop a SaaS channel, traditional ISVs must leverage their investments in their existing SI and VAR channels. Developing a secondary SaaS channel will be a long and costly process. Retooling their existing channels will require ISVs to examine many operational aspects of their channel model. Traditional ISVs will want to: Vet partners change management consulting capabilities. ISVs should initially look for partners that have business process management skills to develop a SaaS sales and delivery team. However, some promising resellers may lack the necessary skills. Draw from the experiences of your other channel partners to help them source the business process change management talent they need. Provide guidance during their partners business transformation phase. ISVs must closely monitor the progress of their initial SaaS partners in order to determine the best practices needed for successful business transformation. They can then pass these on to partners that are new to the SaaS world. Regulate the number of partners that sell and implement SaaS. As SaaS is a sales volume game for partners, ISVs must be careful not to over-saturate the channel with SaaS partners that will compete for business in the same territory. Use deal registration to avoid channel conflict. While many partners have deal registration in place already, it will become especially important as partners compete for sales volume. Provide lead generation during initial SaaS growth phases. To ramp up sales volume when introducing a SaaS offering, ISVs will need to provide their partners with lead generation support. This will help partners that cannot generate enough sales leads themselves. Once the market for the SaaS product is established, the ISVs will need to consider scaling back their lead generation efforts. Base SaaS partner tiers on deal close rate and BPM certifications. To encourage SaaS partners to develop their own sales and consulting expertise, ISVs can base their partner tiering and reward systems on achieving different levels of competency in these areas.

6 6 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL Companies Interviewed For This Document Appirio Astadia Consulting Bluewolf Centive Entellium IBM Iconixx InfoStreet Microsoft NetSuite Nimbus Partners Oracle RightNow Technologies Salesforce.com SAP Xactly ENDNOTES 1 Today s SaaS solutions offer some degree of configurability but are not customizable, which requires users to adapt how they work to fit the constraints of the SaaS solution. This is achievable for smaller businesses that do not have complex processes, but it may be a nonstarter for large businesses with more complex processes. Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) is an independent technology and market research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology. For more than 24 years, Forrester has been making leaders successful every day through its proprietary research, consulting, events, and peer-to-peer executive programs. For more information, visit 2007, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Forrester, Forrester Wave, RoleView, Technographics, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. Forrester clients may make one attributed copy or slide of each figure contained herein. Additional reproduction is strictly prohibited. For additional reproduction rights and usage information, go to Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. To purchase reprints of this document, please

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