Here’s something that bugs me. With the advent of web applications, SaaS, and cloud computing in general, we were promised a new age of unprecedented connectivity and efficiency. Businesses and their employees could now connect to their essential services from anywhere they were, on any device. New features could roll out on a continual basis, without the need for physical upgrades, meaning customers could enjoy the latest and greatest their software had to offer each and every time they started their web browser. It was a revolution.
Or at least it should have been. Except that a lot of companies aren’t taking full advantage of it, and they don’t even realize it.
Is This Really a Problem?
Depends on how you look at it. In many organizations, no one cares to know enough about how their new software works to even realize that they’re missing out. For context, here’s how things used to go.
In the old model, back when software came on a disk, when a new version was released every computer had to be updated manually. This was a major ordeal, and the effort rippled throughout the organization. This made certain that people in charge of training, or people in charge of tracking ROI, were aware of the updates. To be certain the update effort wasn’t suffered in vain, employees were trained on the new functionality the updates afforded them. This was good! Employees were made aware of all the ways the new software could benefit them and the company, and they put it all to use.
Enter the cloud. With web applications and cloud software updates happen server side. No one on the client side has to do anything. Other than a quick “your software’s been updated” message that pops up the next time someone connects, most people in an organization don’t even realize what changes have been made. In theory this is great for the organizations because they get far more frequent updates with features and bug fixes without any of the normal hassles. Except, and this is the kicker, since no one is ever really aware the updates are happening, no one ever gets trained on the new functionality, and as a result no one uses it. . After a while you simply get desensitized to notifications and treat them like any other annoying weekly popups.
Pretty ridiculous, huh? Are you running Office365 on your desktop in 2019? Try naming ONE feature you are using in Microsoft Word that you did not have available in Office 2007, assuming you are old enough to remember what that version looked like.
And this is just one example. Most modern online systems handle anything from databases to telecommunications in the cloud. Dedicating time to learn what changed may not always be worth the effort, but staying completely uninformed is as bad as it gets.
In a subscription-based SaaS model your organization is paying for new features, often very useful features that they don’t know exist and never put to work. You’re effectively time-locking your software, trapping your employees by delaying adoption of new features.
Our Services Are Affected as Well
DLS hosted PBX is effectively a SaaS and we find the same issue cropping up there. Since the product was released we’ve been pushing at least one major update and countless smaller ones, and yet when we visit with clients we find that they aren’t using many new features we built for them. This makes me sad because it’s a really great product and no one’s taking the time to learn what it can do now.
The Moral of The Story
You’ve paid for it. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.