SaaS as an Ecosystem

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Information about SaaS as an Ecosystem

Published on November 12, 2008

Author: saasu



Edge of the Web 2008 SaaS as an Ecosystem • By Marc Lehmann | CEO of

The Nature of Sustainability... • Social • Economic • Environmental

The Nature of Sustainability... • Balanced ecosystems • Communities of species

The Nature of Sustainability... • Consuming less • Sharing more

Software as a Service (SaaS)? SaaS Ecosystem Sustainability... • Shared servers • Shared server infrastructure • Shared platforms • Shared services (backups, upgrades, support and security) • Shared development (agile development, subscription funded) • Shared people and ideas

Ecosystem • A natural unit consisting of all plants, animals and micro-organisms in an area functioning together with all of the non-living physical factors of the environment

SaaS Ecosystem • A natural unit consisting of all users, developers and stakeholders in an area functioning together with all of the non-living physical factors of the internet.

Why SaaS Ecosystems? It’s About Being Online... • any process, technology or behavior that inserts delay, restricts access or denies re- use inhibits the ecosystem

SaaS Ecosystem Makeup • Biotic + Abiotic

Biotic Elements • Consumers • Employees • Developers • Investors

Abiotic Elements • Applications • Network • Platforms • Web construct

SaaS Ecosystems are about... • Mutually beneficial relationships

SaaS Ecosystems are about... • Getting past the limits of pure capitalism. (just billing each other isn’t always best)

SaaS Ecosystems are about... • Non-financial payoffs • doing things because it’s the right thing to do • getting your application connected to others in the ecosystem

SaaS Ecosystems are about... • Alternative payment timelines • Sow now and reap later • Good will and loyalty

SaaS Ecosystems are about... • Indirect benefits • X builds an API connector for Y • X gets new business from Z

SaaS Ecosystem participants... • Are passionate because it’s not just about the money. It’s about building amazing apps that get people excited.

SaaS Ecosystem participants... • Have their own personal online ecosystem within a larger online ecosystem

SaaS Ecosystem participants... • Are more likely to grow and share their data • Share data about their data (meta) • BUT it must be with permission = integrity

SaaS Ecosystem participants... • Test out their ideas in the community • Share discovered widgets and connectors

SaaS Ecosystem participants... • Won’t trade profits for principals, trust and credibility (but some have tried to).

SaaS Ecosystem participants... • Tend to give more permission

SaaS Ecosystem participants... • Are symbiotic in their behaviour

SaaS Ecosystem Participants... • Share ideas at #EOTW and BarCamp!

SaaS Ecosystem participants... • Share in enterprise level utility infrastructure instead of running their own.

SaaS Ecosystems participants... • Are full of explorers, the fuzzy knowledge worker kind

SaaS Ecosystems are changing the tech environment • It’s no longer just about fee for service • The reward is the results of the group • The reward is participation and belonging

SaaS Ecosystems are re-writing economic rule books. • The reward may not be a $’s. Helping people in their tribe (and newbies to join their tribe).

SaaS Ecosystems are creating... • Lots of green collar workers • Companies which are more sustainable

Service is a conversation in SaaS Ecosystems • Sales opportunities • Co-development • Build loyalty, trust and retention • Add new people to your ecosystem • Encourage peer to peer support

SaaS Ecosystem Enablers… • Social networks • Social communications • Connectors • Applications • Citizen Journalism • Web industry associations

SaaS Ecosystem Rulebook... • Vertical Apps • iPhone Apps • Web2.0 Apps • Connectors • SaaS on PaaS • Bespoke Apps not allowed!

SaaS Ecosystem Rulebook... • Connectable • “Get My” • “Synch My” • “Import My” • “Post My”

SaaS Ecosystem Rulebook... • Leverage Tools • Degrees of separation engines • Facebook, LinkedIn etc. • Information leverage • Feeds, Blogs & Forums • Communication leverage • Live and/or delayed - Twitter • Aggregating - FriendFeed

SaaS Ecosystem Rulebook... • I don’t want to revisit my tech investment! • I Expect: • Free upgrades • Instant deployment • Connectors maintained

Ecosystem lesson’s from nature... • Nature doesn’t customise once, it replicates improved features across species incrementally & without charging for them. Genetic source-code.

Ecosystem lesson’s from nature... • Standards facilitate the simplicity of evolution but “evolve or die” as Charles Darwin said.

Ecosystem lesson’s from nature... • Nature invents by testing genetic variations within the ecosystem. So do humans. • Ecosystems facilitate change in standards.

Ecosystem lesson’s from nature... • Genetic variations are often strange. • Strange advantages leading to strange creatures standard display + strange navigation

Ecosystem lesson’s from nature... • Strangeness is good. It’s an opportunity for improvement • “Strangeness is a consequence of innovative thinking”, Ross Lovegrove

Ecosystem lesson’s from nature... • Ecosystems organically engineer: • redundancy - multiple offspring • backups - genetic memory • venture capital - mutations • testing - survival of the fittest • mobility - organ and appendages evolve

Ecosystem lesson’s from nature... • Nature buys lots of cheap options through a multiplicity of genetically varied offspring.

Ecosystem lesson’s from nature... • Nature is the original Venture Capitalist • Nature is an extreme A/B tester

The SaaS Ecosystem also tests... • The SaaS ecosystem sets up lots of free accounts, many are just variations of an Application theme.

The SaaS Ecosystem also tests... • A few will survive because of strange advantages

The SaaS Ecosystem also tests... • While nature votes out serious mistakes SaaS Ecosystem participants vote out Apps

Ecosystem Evolution... • So a feature mix of what customers want (survival of the fittest) and unexpected mutations can rip EXPECTED + UNEXPECTED

SaaS Ecosystem Evolution... • Tend to seed blue ocean ideas • Why? Primordial web soup of tools, ideas and execution + =?

SaaS Ecosystem Evolution... • To be in an ecosystem isn’t a choice • You’re in it and you use it in some way (sometimes indirectly)

SaaS Ecosystem Evolution... • However, it doesn’t need you to survive. It’s bigger than you...and smarter. LOW Awareness HIGH Awareness Cell Organism You Ecosystem

SaaS Ecosystem Evolution... • The ecosystem might need your variant or feature to evolve and improve • Individuals ARE important

Why does the SaaS Ecosystem matter? • Step away from evolution you stop evolving • Stop evolving = Danger. Extinction ahead!

Why does the SaaS Ecosystem matter? • Consumers can now build from the best bits • The way we sell and buy is changing • People self design their solutions • People pick components from many variants • Un-permissioned product push is dying • The ecosystem is choosing ‘who buys what’ through tribal influence

Why does the SaaS Ecosystem matter? • It will encourage consumers to only consume what they need • Consumption becomes more efficient • Tendancy to buy virtual products such as movies, music, content, apps, entertainment - Less physical ‘stuff’ and more ‘mental’ stuff

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The All SaaS Enterprise (ASE) • Wants everything online for the many advantageous reasons • Quietly wishing away operating systems • In a rush to get to the endgame of data and apps existing in the cloud

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The Distributed Enterprise • Many staff • Multiple locations • Communicate almost entirely online

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The real SOHO • Work at home parents • Use technology very well (Gmail, Skype, SaaS applications) • They use ecosystem resources • They push ideas, support and services back into the community - peer to peer support

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The Micro VC • Self funds widgets, blogs, targeted apps • Usually invest time more-so than dollars • Usually end up being a boot-strapper if it starts to take off

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The Bootstrapper • Concentrated risk on a single product • Self fund through small initial capital • Grow organically through cashflow • Engages ecosystems • Doesn't market traditionally

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The Ecosystem Facilitator • Donate time to causes and products • Value relationships highly • They publish at a high rate • Speak about stuff they love and hate

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The Idea Campaigner • Takes component or ideas of existing systems and build new concepts • Will test the idea in the community sometimes before even building it • The build is really fast and low cost but has higher risk • Can be quite captured by organic and viral conversations

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The Tester • They try lots of stuff • There's a tester in all of us at this conference • They take the time to tell you what is good and bad even if they aren't going to buy your product • They are brutally honest (mostly)

New SaaS ecosystem creatures... • The App-Master • Use a handful of apps on which their business is built • They sell ads or products • Insert themselves into ecosystems around these apps • Example 1 - Proseller eBay traders are expert in eBay, PayPal and the 3rd party apps that facilitate • Example 2 - Pro bloggers who master CMS, Analytics, Adwords and other Ad apps • Business built on their ecosystem knowledge

Ecosystems get the thumbs up! • Ecosystems Re-mix, re-invent, connect and evolve the web experience.

Marc Lehmann • Contact Details Email: Skype: marcleh Twitter: marclehmann Web: Blog: Personal blog: Linkedin: Address: 1st Floor, 111 Elizabeth St Sydney, Australia 2000 Attribution-NoDerivs License

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