Before SaaS, enterprise software developers could focus on what they do best – developing great software that answered the business challenges in their target market. There was a purchase price for the CD download, plus periodic updates offered wholesale to all purchasers. It was a one-size fits all model for a mass marketplace, with simple price and volume economics.
In today’s online marketplace, SaaS has shifted software vendors (ISVs) onto a new model based on subscriptions accrued from customers over a longer period of time. Software developers may know how to make great software, but it is a different challenge to make it a commercial success in this environment.
It is much simpler to expand distribution of a cloud-based service than a physical product, and also more straightforward to connect vendors with customers to deliver maintenance and customisation that meets demands. But therein lies the big challenge for ISVs in the new economy, which has both highlighted and inflated the burden of application integration in the overall cost of customer acquisition.
A game without winners
With a growing number of SaaS applications being deployed in organisations across all industries, ISVs are expected to make sure their product not only works, but also works well with other applications to create a fully integrated platform. The 2019 Okta report confirms that companies the world over are increasingly selecting technologies that ‘prioritise interoperability, automation and offer a broad range of functionality.’
When this is the case for each and every customer, the software vendor is forced to make a series of decisions. They need to consider which customers they make the product available to – a few big fish or many little fish? They also need to decide how they spend limited time and resources; is it meeting the afore mentioned customer ‘interoperability’ needs or focusing on developing their

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