|By Kjell Backlund||
|October 2, 2012 04:40 PM EDT||
First, let's define what I mean by automated sign-on. Some call it federated sign-on, others just single sign-on. For business customers it means that they use their corporate network sign-on and user directory to manage access to an external application. Automated sign-on requires user management to be automated as well; otherwise end users do not get access automatically.
Typically, automated sign-on is regarded to be something troublesome and costly, which slows down rollouts, adds complexity and requires involvement from customer IT organizations, something that SaaS vendors often want to avoid at any cost. Most of the solutions on the market are very complex, and require investments and expertise from both SaaS vendors and their customers, so the fears are not without ground. As a result, many SaaS vendors only offer automated sign-on when they cannot avoid it.
However, automated sign-on can be one of the most important tools in meeting some of the most important business objectives for a SaaS business:
- engaging customers and keeping them
- minimizing unit costs
Let's have a closer look at how automated sign-on can help.
Engaging customers and keeping them
Engaging new, revenue generating users is a must if you want to grow your SaaS business. However, people are very reluctant to spend time with sign-up forms. According to a study by Blue Research covering UK consumers, only 14% of them were sure to sign up, the rest would at least hesitate. Signing up to business applications is typically more complex, due to information related to billing and access rights, so the numbers are definitely not higher. Automated sign-on helps you get rid of the sign-up form, as most of the information needed can be found in the customer's user directory, and can easily be transferred to your application as part of sign-on.
Engaging customers is important, but keeping them is even more important. As customers pay per usage, the break even for a customer might be several months or even years, which means that loyalty is business critical. According to research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, businesses which improved customer retention rates by as little as 5% saw increases in profits 5% to 95%.
How loyal are end users? According to research from Totango, half of paid SaaS customers do not actually use the applications. What happens to your business when they stop paying as well?
How can automated sign-on help you improve loyalty and retention rates? According to the previously mentioned study covering UK consumers, 90% of them had left a web site if they forgot their password or login info, instead of answering security questions or re-setting their password. The login screen is obviously a major threat to loyalty, and automated sign-on helps you eliminate that threat.
Minimizing unit costs
The other part of a successful SaaS equation is minimizing unit costs. Shared resources and automated management helps minimizing unit costs, whereas anything specific to a certain customer or an end user threatens to increase them significantly.
Manual user management is a major challenge to unit costs. The personnel turnover in a typical organization is about 10%, and organizations are restructured every 2-3 years. From a user management perspective this means that at least half of all user profiles have to be updated every year. If your helpdesk takes care of these updates, the cost can be 5% of the revenue per user. Password resets add to these figures, studies have shown that the number of password resets per week can be as high as 10% of the number of employees in an organization.
You can of course outsource user management and the costs related it to the customer. However, then the most critical gatekeeper to your application will be someone who you have no control over, and who has no real incentives to drive revenue for your application. As a result, maintaining user profiles in your application is likely to be a relatively low priority, which leads to slower engagement as well as incorrect invoicing information leading to increased costs for settling those invoices.
Automated user management solves all these issues. Every time a user signs on to the application, up-to-date information from his own organization is transferred to the application, minimizing the need for manual user management. According to my experience, well over 90% of user management can be automated this way.
Automated sign-on is business critical to SaaS vendors serving large and mid-sized customer organizations. It brings significant and measurable improvements to the most important objectives of a SaaS business: driving engagement and usage, fighting churn and minimizing unit costs. And you get improved security as a bonus. Obviously automated sign-on is something any growth oriented SaaS vendor should push, if only there was a solution that could be used to serve most of their customer base (shared resources) and which demands as little as possible per customer rollout (unit costs).
If you are interested is such a solution, read more here.
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
May. 30, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,113
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 30, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,575
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the present state of cloud from the C-level view, and how great companies and rock star executives can use cloud computing to meet their most ambitious and disruptive business ...
May. 30, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,296
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 30, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,386
Earlier this week, we hosted a Continuous Discussion (#c9d9) on Continuous Delivery (CD) automation and orchestration, featuring expert panelists Dondee Tan, Test Architect at Alaska Air, Taco Bakker, a LEAN Six Sigma black belt focusing on CD, and our own Sam Fell and Anders Wallgren. During this episode, we discussed the differences between CD automation and orchestration, their challenges with setting up CD pipelines and some of the common chokepoints, as well as some best practices and tips...
May. 30, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,445
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 30, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,394
Automation is a critical component of DevOps and Continuous Delivery. This morning on #c9d9 we discussed CD Automation and how you can apply Automation to accelerate release cycles, improve quality, safety and governance? What is the difference between Automation and Orchestration? Where should you begin your journey to introduce both?
May. 30, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,499
When I talk about driving innovation with self-organizing teams, I emphasize that such self-organization includes expecting the participants to organize their own teams, give themselves their own goals, and determine for themselves how to measure their success. In contrast, the definition of skunkworks points out that members of such teams are “usually specially selected.” Good thing he added the word usually – because specially selecting such teams throws a wrench in the entire works, limiting...
May. 30, 2016 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,674
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 30, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,308
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 30, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,336
As AT&Ts VP of Domain 2.0 architecture writes one aspect of their Domain 2.0 strategy is a goal to embrace a Microservices Application Architecture. One page 9 they describe how these envisage them fitting into the ECOMP architecture: "The initial steps of the recipes include a homing and placement task using constraints specified in the requests. ‘Homing and Placement' are micro-services involving orchestration, inventory, and controllers responsible for infrastructure, network, and applicati...
May. 30, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,906
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
May. 30, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,400
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
May. 30, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,094
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 30, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,543
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
May. 30, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,037
You might already know them from theagileadmin.com, but let me introduce you to two of the leading minds in the Rugged DevOps movement: James Wickett and Ernest Mueller. Both James and Ernest are active leaders in the DevOps space, in addition to helping organize events such as DevOpsDays Austinand LASCON. Our conversation covered a lot of bases from the founding of Rugged DevOps to aligning organizational silos to lessons learned from W. Edwards Demings.
May. 30, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,555
Agile teams report the lowest rate of measuring non-functional requirements. What does this mean for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuous Everything? To explore how the rise of SDLC acceleration trends such as Agile, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery are impacting software quality, Parasoft conducted a survey about measuring and monitoring non-functional requirements (NFRs). Here's a glimpse at what we discovered and what it means for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuo...
May. 30, 2016 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,696
In the rush to compete in the digital age, a successful digital transformation is essential, but many organizations are setting themselves up for failure. There’s a common misconception that the process is just about technology, but it’s not. It’s about your business. It shouldn’t be treated as an isolated IT project; it should be driven by business needs with the committed involvement of a range of stakeholders.
May. 30, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,720
Just last week a senior Hybris consultant shared the story of a customer engagement on which he was working. This customer had problems, serious problems. We’re talking about response times far beyond the most liberal acceptable standard. They were unable to solve the issue in their eCommerce platform – specifically Hybris. Although the eCommerce project was delivered by a system integrator / implementation partner, the vendor still gets involved when things go really wrong. After all, the vendo...
May. 29, 2016 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,537
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
May. 29, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,427