SaaS Applications vs. Services – How enterprises are finding middle ground with custom Sales Analytics Solutions

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According to Gartner, by 2017, 50% of B2B selling organizations will invest in predictive analytics solutions for prospect qualification, opportunity automation, forecast automation and renewal management.

This is in contradiction to a historic view of sales organizations which have in the past relied on intuition over data.  Enterprises are now increasingly moving towards the data-driven decision making.

According to Aberdeen report on Sales Analytics, best-in-class sales organizations are 33% more likely to deploy sales analytics solutions.

The need for Analytics in Sales function has resulted in the growth of the overall market for predictive analytics applications. At present, there are dozens of Sales Analytics solutions available in the market.  The providers of these analytics solutions vary from organizations that are solving individual problems such as opportunity scoring, pipeline forecasting to many others that are solving two or more problems together.

Providers of Analytics applications have approached sales analytics solutions through a variety of engagement models. There are pure-play services vendors, SaaS application providers and also custom sales analytics solution providers.

Pure play service vendors

In this scenario, the service provider is engaged to solve a business problem (structured as a project) or act as an extended team for delivering insights, strategy, and recommendations on a regular basis. Pricing is based on time & material or it is charged as a fixed fee.

SaaS application providers

Providers deliver a cloud-based business application where the results are either delivered to the end business user or plugged back into a pre-defined platform. Problems are predefined and methodology for solving cannot be altered as the solution is pre-packaged. This type of analytics solution is more Ideal for businesses where the needs are very clear and there will be less of change to the overall scope of the problem. Pricing is either pay-per-use or on time & material. SaaS-based applications are generally less cost intensive when compared to services or custom sales analytics deployment.

Custom analytics solution providers

Vendor builds a platform for solving one or more business problem and deploys the applications with embedded algorithms based on the need of the organization. In a custom solution, the vendor brings together pre-built  algorithms, visualization, and API data connectors and they are customized based on the needs of the organization. Custom sales analytics solution would require an on-going support as it helps organizations in fine-tuning existing processes or for adding more modules to the existing deployment based on requirement.

From our experience, we believe that Analytics can help power the best business decision when:

  • Analytics is not just a single shot solution to a business problem
  • Analytics is not just a cloud-based technology platform
  • Analytics is not just a team of people with data skills

Therefore, the ideal solution for Sales Analytics problems can potentially be a custom solution that brings together a pre-built platform that can be customized & implemented based on the needs of an  organization.

Custom solutions are becoming the ideal way of engagement because of two major reasons:

Change management needs flexibility of solution

Often, we see companies of all sizes finding it tough to bring about a change in the way the sales team works. For instance, even an addition of an extra field in the opportunity details of a CRM  is not very well-received or adopted by Sales teams. Therefore, the very expectation of wanting the entire sales function to follow the ways of a pre-packaged application is a big ask and this would result in a poor adoption of the application at an end user level.  Pre-packaging a solution, by its very nature, advocates the fact that the same lens has to be used across all the enterprises. But, the way an opportunity is scored can never be the same for all the companies as every organization is different in terms of its sales process, size, business etc.

Therefore, a comprehensive solution is necessary to understand that every organization is different and will not expect a lot of change while institutionalizing analytics.

Personalization has become the norm to drive decisions

Data is ever changing and growing, algorithms are becoming obsolete & redundant and visualization is becoming more end-user friendly. In this Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA)  environment, any application that tries to standardize data, algorithms, metrics & visualizations is not just making it tough to consume but is also reducing the performance of the overall system. Thus, any application that goes against the tide can never survive a competitive environment and eventually organizations using these applications have a possibility of losing their ground.

Therefore, the best-in-class applications have to be tailor-made for every enterprise and cannot be standardized.

An ideal custom solution for a sales organization should be able to:

  1. Align with the goals of an organization & prioritize key analytics requirement
  2. Bring together algorithms, frameworks & data connectors for a specific business problem
  3. Be delivered as an Analytics white box that makes analytics consumption transparent and easy
  4. Embed decisions into processes of the business, for the consumption of business users
  5. (1-4) will continue to last till businesses will be able to realize RoI from the application

We, at BRIDGEi2i, have understood the immediate priorities of enterprises and have built a custom sales enablement solution, that provides visibility, predictability, intervention & pipeline management for Sales organizations. BRIDGEi2i’s Sales Decision Engine (SDE) enables the sales organization with intelligent decisions by supporting different sales roles with an ability to predict outcomes better and to act opportunistically for improving sales processes.

BRIDGEi2i Sales Decision Engine

SDE was featured in Gartner’s September 7th, 2016 Market Guide for SaaS-based predictive analytics applications for B2B sales and marketing. Want to know more about Sales Decision Engine? Contact us.

 

BRIDGEi2i provides Business Analytics Solutions to enterprises globally, enabling them to achieve accelerated business impact harnessing the power of data. With a combination of domain expertise, advanced analytics capabilities, and technology accelerators, To know more, head over to www.bridgei2i.com

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