Ask yourself, when was the last time you went to your local PC store, picked up some productivity software on a CD or DVD and installed it on your PC? The answer is probably “a few years back.”
Most PCs, especially laptops, don’t even have DVD drives installed anymore. With superfast broadband everything from small utilities to huge multi-gigabyte software suites can be delivered over the internet so there’s no reason for software to come on a DVD anymore.
But even traditional software, of the type that is downloaded and installed locally on your own PC, is starting to wane and its replacement, SaaS services, are taking over. Indeed a recent IDC report has found that SaaS and cloud software is growing by 24.4 per cent year-on-year and this growth is nearly five times faster than that of the traditional software market.
Software companies are having to move with the times. More and more customers are demanding software they can use across devices – from PCs to smartphones and tablets. So web applications are the standard and cloud services are expected. However, this comes with its own problems. Customers can be demanding, especially when it comes to anything online, and at what point do you stop being a software company and start being a software-managed solutions-infrastructure-security-certification-compliance-everything company? After all, moving to the cloud is supposed to make things easier.
Acrolinx was a traditional hosted software business, they relied on their own servers in Germany to run linguistic analytics on their customers’ data to help them create more readable, findable and engaging content. Content needs to be on-brand, on-target and content creators need to be cognisant of important details such as SEO and corporate tone, however it’s not easy to standardise and report on all these metrics. That’s where Acrolinx comes in. They serve some of the world’s most recognisable brands but as the company grew they found a number of customers were asking for capabilities beyond what their own data-centre hosted solution could offer. Global brands need global presence so a single European-based data centre was simply not an option for customers on different continents.
Acrolinx needed a public cloud route to market to be able to offer a global service but didn’t know how. They also found that customers were asking for additional services they could not provide, especially around security services and cyber-attack protection.
Acrolinx’s story is a familiar one. Software companies know they need to offer more options to their customers, especially in making the transition to offering more SaaS services, but they either don’t know how or are concerned that they will end up spending so much time and effort in administering these extra services, it will take the focus away from their core offering. They also risk losing customers if they cannot prove their security procedures are cutting edge or they don’t have the required ISO compliance certifications.
After Acrolinx’s move to the cloud they experienced a lot of positives. As Philipp Offermann explains, “We are in a much better position to fulfil specific customer needs. If the customer wants it, we now have it on our list and can say yes, we offer that. We have begun to see an increase in uptake of our software as we can now offer a standardised hosting package with options for a wider range of services.”
Moving to the cloud offers many advantages for successful traditional software companies. It gives them the extra boost to reach more customers and fulfil more customer needs. And with the cost of public cloud computing decreasing, there has never been a better time to move to the cloud and reap the benefits.
Tony Connor, head of EMEA marketing, Datapipe
Image source: Shutterstock/TechnoVectors