It can be especially difficult for small-to-medium-sized ISVs, who established themselves in the desktop era, to switch to the Cloud model. These companies face a couple key challenges as they attempt to adapt to the new, cloud-driven marketplace.
Retaining or Re-training Developers for the Cloud
Traditional, Windows-only developers are accustomed to developing for, well, Windows. These developers likely don’t have the skills necessary to develop APIs, create front-end mobile applications and web pages, or maintain the complex networks that hook customers’ remote sites into cloud-based web applications.
Larger companies can simply hire more developers or re-train their existing development staff to perform these tasks. Small or mid-sized vendors, however, are often left to do the best they can with what they have.
Adapting to the Cloud-based Business Model
You’ve invested a lot into your desktop-based software, and so have your current customers. However you move to the Cloud, you’ll have to bring those customers with you. Additionally, you’ll want to provide new customers with an avenue to upgrade from your cloud-based offerings to your fully-featured desktop product.
As more and more vendors develop for and deliver their software over the Cloud, the global competition for business increases. Vendors have responded by creating ever-cheaper, subscription-based access points for their customers, in hopes of later upgrading those customers into more expansive and profitable services.
For example, just a couple decades ago, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software such as Siebel or SAP carried a huge price tag and was available to only large businesses. Now, companies like Zoho CRM are offering free CRM software over the web. This software can be upgraded through a subscription-based service that starts at a price of just $12 per user per month, a pittance when compared with previous software prices.
Whether you acknowledge it or not, your company is now competing globally. To keep up, you must offer something unique via the Cloud and also entice new customers to invest in the desktop-based software that got you started in the first place.