June 14th, 2007 | Published in Google Enterprise
Phil Wainewright's recent How SaaS changes the SI universe post highlights some important points about the impact Software as a Service is having on professional services.
In interviews with Appirio and Bluewolf, two SI's that are both Google Enterprise Professional partners as well as Salesforce.com partners, he expands on some fundamental differences in project delivery and scope:
"This is typically a business with 30-60 day projects and the ability to show things to customers as they’re being developed, which is not the kind of engagement the traditional SIs are used to."He goes on to reference Bluewolf's CEO Eric Berridge:
"Berridge said that the focus is very much on best practice business processes and getting close to users in agile development-style engagements where they can see the applications taking shape and see the effect of changes as they happen."This agile, iterative model of delivery professional services exactly mirrors what customers love about the on-demand model. Namely predictable costs and timelines, transparency because it's easy to "take the taste test", and continual improvements based on direct feedback to the vendor. This is exactly in line with what I saw at JotSpot, and is indeed what we're seeing around Google Apps.
Disruptive? Yes. But I'm personally not counting out the big SI's in this transition.
The upside for SI's of all sizes is large:
- More intimate interaction with the customer
- More money to allocate to more interesting, higher-value projects
- Predictable costs and an agile approach reduce risk to encourage even more experimentation and innovation