When it comes to advice about making the transition from on premise to SaaS or on-demand, there has been a drought of insight from real life practitioners. It’s one thing to remake your software — that’s the easy part — but it’s something else to remake your company.
Think about all the moving parts involved — product development (of course) but there’s also personnel, staffing, the kinds of jobs each person does, the sales model and process, the development and deployment cycle, and much, much more. There’s also a small thing called the business model or put in a less genteel manner, how the company makes money.
Now Brian Zanghi, CEO of Pragmatech software, is sharing his experiences and knowledge derived from three years in the trenches. A lot of Zanghi’s wisdom can be boiled down to “think different” but such encomiums can only take you so far. More practical advice comes in his “Ten Lessons from a SaaS Transformation” article which you can link to here.
When it comes to sequencing changes to different parts of the business, think like a surgeon, get in, get the job done and get out. Be quick lest the patient die on the operating table. And since you are going to have to change the whole company, don’t be afraid to do many things at once since so many things are interdependent. After all, it’s the transition state that is the most unstable so limit the time you spend there.
Zanghi estimates the whole trip takes three years but also admits that with hind sight, it could be speeded up. One of his most relevant observations is that the CEO must be comfortable as a trailblazer inventing as he or she goes along because there is not a great deal of experience and advice for CEOs to lean on. That might have been true when he started out but Zanghi has done a lot to dispel the darkness and make the trek a little easier for the next guy.