Spotlight

Spotlight

Mark Seemann

Mark Seemann, product strategy and development director at Outsourcery

Under the spotlight this month is Mark Seemann, product strategy and development director at Outsourcery. Outsourcery is a company that uses unified communications and hosted IT to help its customers work in smarter, more effective ways. It believes that companies of all sizes should be able to enjoy the benefits of the latest communications and hosted IT. Outsourcery’s ambition is to help its customers work smarter, not harder.

MB: As a business focused on outsourcing and software as a service (SaaS), Outsourcery has a detailed insight into what aspects of this area are growing in mobile, and which are not.

Can you tell us, in terms of mobile, what are the most exciting developments in software as a service? What sort of customer does it attract, what are they choosing to buy from you in the mobile space, and why?

MS: Research by Outsourcery indicates that 42% of businesses will increase their use of remote and mobile working solutions over the coming year. Therefore, naturally the most useful solution for these businesses would be a SaaS solution.

 

One of the most exciting SaaS developments is CRM as a service linked to mobility. The solution is designed for quick access to customer information, specifically catering for users who need to view and update their data while on the move. Mobile CRM is particularly attractive to employers who need to be updated with business critical information in real time to increase productivity.

As one of the most innovative communication tools on the market, hosted CRM via a mobile service creates a single solution that is very sticky for dealers who are looking to retain existing customers and reduce their churn.

A significant development for 2010 is also unified communications (UC) solutions which will allow all business employees to communicate in the most effective ways whether they are in the office, out meeting clients or working from home. Office Communicator, a business tool which streamlines communication, is our first UC offering and we are already seeing a pent-up demand from mobile workers.

The reason why these SaaS solutions are especially appealing to the SME market is because as it’s a hosted service businesses can grow and shrink the number of seats that they take on demand, making it a lot more flexible than locally hosted servers.

Customers are choosing to buy hosted exchanges, and email, SharePoint and CRM which are all hosted because all of these solutions can be accessed from a smartphone on the move. Mobile CRM, for example, looks very similar to CRM on a PC and there is no installation required to enable it to function on a mobile device as it is installed on a hosted server – not the mobile device itself – before being accessed via a web browser.

MB: Has mobile SaaS grown in the past year? What has been the effect of the recession on this space? Has it increased the number of businesses looking to ‘hire’ technology rather than buy outright?

What do you see as the pitfalls for independent mobile dealers looking at moving into this space? Is 2010 a good time to make the move into SaaS? Will we see more growth in this market in 2010?

MS: We at Outsourcery have seen rapid growth in the mobile SaaS space over the past 12 months and IDC research indicates that there will be a 26% growth in demand for SaaS solutions each year for the next four years. In 2009 the worldwide SaaS market was worth 17.7 billion, which is set to rise to 44.2 billion by 2013, according to IDC.

In the continued tough economic conditions, SaaS solutions have become increasingly attractive to SMEs and rapidly growing companies. This is because many SMEs still can’t afford inhouse IT departments and don’t want to deal with the problems that are involved when IT is maintained on premise.

By purchasing hosted solutions businesses don’t have to worry about keeping up to date and backing up their data. They can have peace of mind that their systems are being run on secure, reliable servers which are constantly updated and monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by Outsourcery’s team of Microsoft Certified engineers.

The effect of the recession is that small businesses have started to deploy solutions that increase their productivity and reduce their operational costs, and by using cloud technology they don’t need to install expensive on-premise servers.

The pitfalls for independent mobile dealers may be their lack of knowledge about the technology and therefore their ability to convey the benefits in an easy to understand way.

Resellers and dealers need to start using this technology themselves in order to explain the benefits to their customers. At Outsourcery, for instance, we use all our own solutions to run the business. This way we ourselves know exactly how to explain the advantages to our channel partners and customers.

Mobile dealers should embrace the SaaS solutions so that they can move away from selling commoditised mobile products and move forward in offering added value solutions. In order to better understand the opportunities that are out there, resellers can start to engage with existing SaaS providers such as Outsourcery.

 
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