Lora Cecere is a partner with Altimeter Group and the author of Supply Chain Shaman. Lora travels the world to chart the course of supply chain practices and disruptive technologies. She recently penned an article entitled “What do you think? Is this idea feasible?” Her line of questioning was around the use of aggregated data in a SaaS environment to provide real-time benchmarking — a subject that we recently explored in our blog. While Lora’s focus is clearly on supply chain management, the concept of using SaaS aggregated data is valid across any segment that is being serviced by SaaS. Here is the key question that she poses:
I think that the answer lies in redefining Software as a Service (SaaS) to be about more than delivery. It could be SO much more. I think that it is the answer for holistic, end-to-end benchmarking;. I just don’t think that it would not take that much effort to collect aggregate benchmark data for use by a peer group using a similar system on a hosted system. SaaS is growing in popularity. Five years ago, less than
5% of supply chain executives wanted SaaS solutions, today, based on qualitative interviews, it is desired by over 80% of supply chain executives. So here is my question: “What if every SaaS solution was designed to provide benchmark data?” The data models and peer groups could be controlled, the data would be near real-time, the data service could be a value-added service, and the approach would be holistic. Now that, Fred Smith, sounds like a winning combination! <I even think it is feasible. Do you?>
Well? How about the aggregated data from an HR SaaS provider? Think about the value of benchmarking the performance or longevity of a sales team against a peer group. Or, how about the metrics from an IT Service Desk provider that will drive continuous improvement in areas such as incident response times, mean time to repair, etc.? Makes you think, doesn’t it? Static data that is a year plus old with zero ability to drill down, adjust the peer group, etc. falls far short of the potential that aggregated data from a multi-tenant SaaS provider can deliver.
SaaS vendors out there that have true multi-tenant architecture are in a unique position to offer benchmarking services to their customers. The potential value to the customer would present them with a new way to measure and improve the performance of their organization, whether its the IT department, sales organization or the HR team.