I recently compiled the results from a survey I set up on the SaaS customer experience from the providers perspective. One of the surprising results was that the respondents viewed availability of the service as more important than the application functionality. This was from the perspective of what their customers were most concerned about.
80% of the respondents felt that availability was “extremely important” to their customers and 16% felt it was “important“. In that same survey 60% of the respondents felt that the functionality of their service was “extremely important” to their customers and 36% felt it was “important”.
In addition the respondents indicated that security and performance were also more important than functionality although not by a significant margin.
Although surprised, I’m not sure whether I am pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised.
On one hand I think it is great that providers are focused on the important aspects of service delivery such as availability, security, and performance. A solution which has great functionality is not useful if it isn’t available, doesn’t perform well, or allows unauthorized use. Maybe customers have finally convinced providers that these are critical aspects of the service they are buying.
On the other hand an available, well performing, and secure solution which does not solve the business problem effectively doesn’t have much value either.
Another way of looking at the results are that a significant number of providers said that all four of these items were either “extremely important” or “important” to their customers and that you have to provide all four. I don’t know of any large SaaS provider who hasn’t successfully addressed all four and I don’t believe that your SaaS business will grow significantly in the long-term unless you plan to be excellent in all four areas!