The blow up I had over access controls was really the start of what I hope will be a journey of maturity for the industry. If nothing else it made me realize that what the industry perceives as ‘secure’ and what customers perceive are worlds apart. Add in the fact that in recent days we’ve seen a string of fiascos from some of the most mature companies in the tech space and you just know there’s a wake up call here – for everyone.
RayWang, my Enterprise Advocates colleague along with Jeremiah Owyang, a long time enthusiast for social networking, have produced a SaaS Customer Bill of Rights – see the scribd document above produced under their business moniker Altimeter Group. This is their work but I, along with other colleagues had some input to the document. That’s the nature of the new world of research and consulting. It’s almost like open source but with someone taking overall ownership. You’ll see more of this kind of thing in the coming months and years.
Late last year, another colleague Phil Wainewright set out a five point code of conduct for saas vendors. Has the industry come together to make that a reality? Not as far as I can tell.
While at SoftWorld I expect to meet some of the UK leaders in both the on-demand/saas world and on premise providers along with ICAEW people. I’d like to see the conversations move towards a meeting of minds where the industry’s agenda is more closely aligned to that of the end user. There need to be serious discussions around standards that can be applied in a non-competitive manner. Already we are seeing plenty of efforts to provide cross functional integrations through the use of web APIs. I applaud that move. But if it is done without regard to the safety of the end user then who carries the can? It is these and other similar issues I see as agenda items the industry need to address. Not on their terms but on terms that reflect the needs of customers. That’s why the work Ray, I and others do as customer advocates is so important at this time.
The industry has arrived at an inflection point. 2010 is going to see a rapid expansion in saas/on-demand. The industry owes it to itself and its customers to demonstrate the ability to do what could not be done in the past. Not just deliver value but make customer care a demonstrated and vigorous responsibility. The economics look good, the collaborative case has been made, services are coming along at a break neck pace. Now is the time to step up and grow up.
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