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The Secrets to Winning the Cloud Game 

By Charles Araujo, Principal Analyst, Intellyx

Moving from a traditional on-premises delivery model to a cloudbased, Software-as-a-Service strategy is a high-stakes, bet-the company game for independent software vendors — these are the secrets to winning it all.

It’s a High Stakes Game, So Be at the Table

It’s time to put your chips on the table and get in the game.

As an independent software vendor, you are now living in a cloud-driven world — whether you like it or not. But the move from an on-premises deployment model to a cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service approach is more involved than you may realize.

Here’s the most important thing to know as you saddle up to the table: from here on out there is no such thing as a purely technical decision.

In the pre-cloud world, it was a little clearer. The development team created the product. The sales and marketing team sold the product. The support team deployed and supported the product after the sale. Then in a few years, you repeated the entire process all over again.

In the cloud-driven SaaS world, everything has been turned upside down. Every decision will now span strategic, technical and operational dimensions — and it means that you need to saddle up and take a seat at the table. This is your hand to play.


This Game is Played by a Different Set of Rules

It’s tempting to think that you’re just playing the same game, but with a diferent deck of cards. You’re not. There is an entirely different set of rules to this game.

Moving from an on-premises deployment model to a cloud-driven SaaS approach is about much more than just employing a new delivery model. It’s a fundamental shift in how you do business.

If you don’t want to lose it all on the first hand, you need to understand how to play this game — and you must realize that this new SaaS business model will impact everything from your revenue stream to your architectural complexity to how you approach customer retention and satisfaction.

You can’t afford to take anything for granted. If you want to come out on top, you need to start at the beginning and understand the new rules by the time you place your first bet.



You're Going All In

The first thing that you need to understand is that you’re going all in!

You can’t place a few tepid bets to see what happens. To be competitive in the SaaS world means an entirely new business model — and that means a fundamental shift in your revenue and profit stream.

With the on-premises approach, you received large cash infusions up front. In the SaaS world, a smaller, but steady stream of income replaces those large, up-front cash receipts.

You know this, but have you fully considered the ramifications of this new revenue model — and the fact that customers will be able to switch more readily — on your business operations?

At the same time, you’ll need to invest heavily in an entirely new infrastructure to support your new business model. That’s quite a double-down bet: less cash up front and a greater capital outlay to fund your new infrastructure.

Push those chips into the pot. You’re all in!


Mastering the Secrets to a Winning Hand

The good news is that there are a few secrets to building a winning hand that makes your all-in bet a bit less risky.

The big secret is understanding that there is no simple, one-dimensional technique for winning this game. In this game, everything matters.

You can’t win by focusing on any single card. You need to put it all together — from the application, to the database, to the infrastructure — to build your winning hand.

When we said that there is no purely technical decision, we meant it. Each card matters. It’s how you assemble your hand — how you put all the pieces together as you prepare to move from an on-premises strategy to a SaaS model — that is the diference between winning and losing the game.

The question is: how do you put together your winning hand? Well, it’s your lucky day, because we’ve got the answer. 

Your Ace in the Hole: Agility

Everyone knows that a winning hand starts with your ace in the hole.

For software companies making the shift to a SaaS model, that ace is agility.

You need to be able to pivot rapidly as your customers’ needs and desires change. A funny thing happens when you make the move from on-premises to SaaS: customer expectations change. They suddenly expect you to move faster and to change more quickly.

And they expect you to help them leverage your product to create their own agility as they attempt to compete in a market that is moving ever faster.

To meet this demand, you need to design your product architecture with agility in mind – yours and your customers.

That’s your ace in the hole.

The King: Time to Market

Speaking of speed, let’s talk about the king in your winning hand: Time-to-Market.

You’re not the only one making the move to the cloud. So are all of your competitors. How you make the move — and doing it better and faster than your competitors — is going to be a critical part of putting together your winning hand.

Keeping up with your competition is great. But let’s call a spade a spade: you need to do more than just keep up — you need to beat your competitors to the punch. Over and over again.

As you move to the cloud, your ability to deliver faster — not just your frst cloud release, but every release thereafter — will make you the ruler of the game.

The Queen Smiles Favorably When Her Customers are Happy

Despite the importance of the King, this game isn’t all about speed. That’s only part of the winning hand – all of your cards need to come together to win. Agility and time to market won’t matter if you don’t delight your customers.

The challenge for you is that in the world of cloud, your customers will take their losses and switch to a competitor at the frst sign of trouble. It’s not enough to just be fast-tomarket. You also need to thrill and delight your customers at every turn — so they double-down on a winning hand with you instead.

In this game, retention is the queen in your hand — and the queen favors those who keep her subjects happy.

The move to a cloud-driven world has left your customers fckle. They won’t hesitate to jump ship the moment they believe you aren’t meeting their needs.

Keep your customers happy by ensuring continuous availability of your platform or service and by delivering competition-beating performance on a consistent basis.

Are you ready for this?

The “Jack of All Trades”

You’re drawing to the royal fush, but you’re not there yet.

You’ve got the agility, the time-to-market, and the customer retention. But how you put that into action is all critical to building your winning your hand. That’s why you need your ‘Jack of all trades’: flexibility.

In a cloud-driven world, nothing is certain, and change is the only constant. That’s why fexibility is so important.

You need fexible deployment options. You need the ability to mix operational and analytical transactions to make rapid, real-time decisions. You need to be able to leverage diferent infrastructure elements based on the criticality and the demands of the workloads running on them.

Flexibility is what makes the other cards work. But it’s not automatic. You need to plan for it and protect it.



Numbers Still Count

The face cards may get all the glory, but it’s the ‘10 card’ that brings the winning hand home. Even in the game of cloud, numbers still count.

In the rush to get into the game, it’s easy to overspend — especially on the wrong things. If you don’t pay attention to the numbers, you can easily find yourself in a hole you can’t climb out of before it’s too late.

The trick to winning this game is to bet smartly. You may be all in, but that doesn’t mean that you have to bet big on the first hand. 

Playing to win means thinking about the future. Invest in an infrastructure that can grow when your revenue grows, and you’ll always have a comfortable lead. Put all your chips down on expensive infrastructure before you need it, and you’ll be out of the game fast.

You need to focus on consistently lowering your cost of both ownership and operation and ensuring that you’re placing bets that will give you the greatest flexibility in the future.


Your Royal Flush

It may seem daunting, but you can win the cloud game — and it doesn’t require luck. You just need to build your winning hand.

It won’t happen by accident. Every decision — no matter how technical it may seem — will matter. That’s why you need to be at the table and be actively involved. The stakes are just too big to be left to the technical team alone.

When you go to assemble your winning hand, one thing will become abundantly clear: you’ll need a collection of cloud-focused solutions — like NuoDB — to pull it of.

To compete in the cloud-driven, SaaS world, you need agility, rapid time-to-market, high customer retention rates, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. One area that affects every card in your royal flush is the database. Using a database like NuoDB, designed specifically for this purpose, is the only way to deliver these capabilities.

It’s the Royal Flush you need to win the game.


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