|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.
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Jan. 19, 2017 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,282
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
Jan. 19, 2017 04:45 PM EST Reads: 3,464
"We're bringing out a new application monitoring system to the DevOps space. It manages large enterprise applications that are distributed throughout a node in many enterprises and we manage them as one collective," explained Kevin Barnes, President of eCube Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 19, 2017 04:15 PM EST Reads: 5,398
I’m told that it has been 21 years since Scrum became public when Jeff Sutherland and I presented it at an Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications (OOPSLA) workshop in Austin, TX, in October of 1995. Time sure does fly. Things mature. I’m still in the same building and at the same company where I first formulated Scrum. Initially nobody knew of Scrum, yet it is now an open source body of knowledge translated into more than 30 languages People use Scrum worldwide for ...
Jan. 19, 2017 03:15 PM EST Reads: 3,041
Thanks to Docker, it becomes very easy to leverage containers to build, ship, and run any Linux application on any kind of infrastructure. Docker is particularly helpful for microservice architectures because their successful implementation relies on a fast, efficient deployment mechanism – which is precisely one of the features of Docker. Microservice architectures are therefore becoming more popular, and are increasingly seen as an interesting option even for smaller projects, instead of being...
Jan. 19, 2017 02:45 PM EST Reads: 2,285
As the race for the presidency heats up, IT leaders would do well to recall the famous catchphrase from Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign against George H. W. Bush: “It’s the economy, stupid.” That catchphrase is important, because IT economics are important. Especially when it comes to cloud. Application performance management (APM) for the cloud may turn out to be as much about those economics as it is about customer experience.
Jan. 19, 2017 02:30 PM EST Reads: 4,687
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
Jan. 19, 2017 02:15 PM EST Reads: 1,051
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Jan. 19, 2017 01:15 PM EST Reads: 5,160
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Jan. 19, 2017 01:15 PM EST Reads: 3,524
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Jan. 19, 2017 12:45 PM EST Reads: 2,544
Synthetic monitoring is hardly a new technology. It’s been around almost as long as the commercial World Wide Web has. But the importance of monitoring the performance and availability of a web application by simulating users’ interactions with that application, from around the globe, has never been more important. We’ve seen prominent vendors in the broad APM space add this technology with new development or partnerships just in the last 18 months.
Jan. 19, 2017 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,662
Updating DevOps to the latest production data slows down your development cycle. Probably it is due to slow, inefficient conventional storage and associated copy data management practices. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in Product and Solution at Tintri, will talk about DevOps and cloud-focused storage to update hundreds of child VMs (different flavors) with updates from a master VM in minutes, saving hours or even days in each development cycle. He will also...
Jan. 19, 2017 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,197
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
Jan. 19, 2017 12:15 PM EST Reads: 2,012
The unique combination of Amazon Web Services and Cloud Raxak, a Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation, provides a seamless and cost-effective way of securely moving on-premise IT workloads to Amazon Web Services. Any enterprise can now leverage the cloud, manage risk, and maintain continuous security compliance. Forrester's analysis shows that enterprises need automated security to lower security risk and decrease IT operational costs. Through the seamless integration into Amazon Web Services, ...
Jan. 19, 2017 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,913
A lot of time, resources and energy has been invested over the past few years on de-siloing development and operations. And with good reason. DevOps is enabling organizations to more aggressively increase their digital agility, while at the same time reducing digital costs and risks. But as 2017 approaches, the hottest trends in DevOps aren’t specifically about dev or ops. They’re about testing, security, and metrics.
Jan. 19, 2017 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,317
"We provide DevOps solutions. We also partner with some key players in the DevOps space and we use the technology that we partner with to engineer custom solutions for different organizations," stated Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 19, 2017 11:30 AM EST Reads: 4,372
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
Jan. 19, 2017 10:15 AM EST Reads: 983
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
Jan. 19, 2017 10:15 AM EST Reads: 622
"We got started as search consultants. On the services side of the business we have help organizations save time and save money when they hit issues that everyone more or less hits when their data grows," noted Otis Gospodnetić, Founder of Sematext, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jan. 19, 2017 10:15 AM EST Reads: 4,895
An overall theme of Cloud computing and the specific practices within it is fundamentally one of automation. The core value of technology is to continually automate low level procedures to free up people to work on more value add activities, ultimately leading to the utopian goal of full Autonomic Computing. For example a great way to define your plan for DevOps tool chain adoption is through this lens. In this TechTarget article they outline a simple maturity model for planning this.
Jan. 19, 2017 10:15 AM EST Reads: 320