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Selina Zeegers

Selina Zeegers

 (original from Nebucom.be website, by Nick Boucart, Sirris)

In my work with software entrepreneurs, I often get questions about outsourcing software product development. In many cases, these questions come from non-technical, or non-software founders. I call this type of founders "business founders". (as opposed to technical founders, that come from a technological background). My take: add a technical co-founder or CTO to your team or your startup has a serious handicap.

Most business founders have a pretty good feeling with the market: their ideas sprout from observing real business problems. Business founders are often capable of estimating and testing if there is a market for their proposed software. What they lack however, is knowledge about how to translate their idea into working software. The most logical thing to do then, as a business founder, is to outsource your software product development to a 3rd party, or isn't it? Here are six reasons why:

(continue reading

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Legal Aspects of Cloud Computing

(From Nebucom.be, by the Nebucom team)

The legal and regulatory landscape around cloud computing is by no means static. Cloud computing that employsa hybrid, community or public cloud model "creates new dynamics in the relationship between an organization and its information, involving the presence of a third party: the cloud provider. This leads to new challenges in understanding how laws apply to a wide variety of information management scenarios and to the different parties under these various scenarios.

Regardless of which computing model you use, cloud or otherwise, you will need to consider the legal issues, specifically those around any data you might collect, store and process. There will likely be national, European or international laws you will need to consider to ensure you are in legal compliance.

 

Read more about this event at : http://www.nebucom.be/blog/2014/09/03/workshop-legal-aspects-cloud-computing/

 

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Saas, Made in Belgium

You are a Belgian software company, already offering your software as a SaaS. Or you're still wondering if SaaS can mean anyting for your software offering? This event by NebuCom will give you the main challenges and opportunities faced by Belgian software companies transitioning to SaaS. Some lessons learned and recommendations will give you insights for your own business.

The event features two keynote presentations given by 2 prestigious companies: IDC, the market research, analysis and advisory firm specializing in information technology and WooRank, a Belgian SaaS company, #1 Online Marketing Software for Small Businesses. The keynote presentations are followed by 2 sessions presenting Belgian business cases of SaaS transitions and an overview of key recommendations for Belgian software builders.
Programme

Keynote Presentations
How IDC see the market for SaaS developing? – Martin Caning, Group Vice President, European Consulting IDC
Starting a SaaS: behind the scene – Learn about the tools to speed up the process, the methodology to segment your market & the processes to acquire and retain customers – Jean Derély – Founder at WooRank

Belgian Business Cases Several selected business cases of Belgian software companies.

Key Recommendations for Software Builders The Nebucom partners will share their experience and provide key recommendations for Belgian Software builders whether or not already in SaaS.

Networking drink

Date & location

Date: 30 september 2014: from 2 pm to 5 pm, followed by a networking drink

Location: Diamant Building, Bd A. Reyers 80, 1030 Brussels
Participation fee

100 EUR (excluding VAT) 50 EUR (excluding VAT) for members of LSEC, Agoria or Sirris Attention: the number of participants is limited.

(from Nebucom.be, by Nick Boucart & Nebucom team)

Running a SaaS business is a numbers game. Small changes in key figures like Churn or Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) can have a serious impact on your cash flow. And while we are at it, hockey stick growth requires deep pockets of cash. In this post, we'll run you through some simulations to illustrate how.

Often times, you'll read about how SaaS companies are able to grow fast and furious. Hockey stick growth anyone? What is less known, is that, in order to grow so aggressively, SaaS companies need to dig a deep hole first. Recovery, and the proverbial hockey stick, comes months, often times years later. Check out The Pay Later Cash Flow model for more details.
A few metrics that matter

...

Read more at http://www.nebucom.be/blog/2014/07/07/inconvenient-truth-saas-hockeystick-growth/

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Is Your SaaS Ready for Mobile?

(From Nebucom.be, by Nick Boucart)

Mobile browsing is fast becoming the norm. And yet, when I look at many SaaS applications via my smartphone, I cringe a little: confusing, awkward and unsightly. Now that more and more people are using their smartphone as their primary screen, SaaS providers have to ask themselves if their applications are ready to be used in any situation. In short: is your SaaS product toilet-proof?

If you're the proud possessor of a smartphone, the odds are that you wake up and go to sleep with it. Before breakfast, you've probably already checked your notifications and, throughout the day, you're keeping up with the latest news and liking stuff all over the place.
Spotting opportunities

During the soccer game between Belgium and Algeria on June 17th, for instance, mobile traffic in Belgium was at its highest level ever. ....

Go to Nebucom.be for more 

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A Content Marketing Machine on a Budget

(from Nebucom.be; by Nick Boucart)

Many SaaS companies use content marketing as one of their strategies to attract new customers at scale. In this nice presentation, colleague Omar explains in 10 slides how you can start building a lean and mean content marketing machine for your SaaS business.

For more information : http://www.nebucom.be/blog/2014/06/17/a-content-marketing-machine-on-a-budget/

 

(from Nebucom.be, by Nick Boucart)

This is the first article in a (hopefully) long list of weekly articles containing news, articles and "stuff" that is of interest for SaaS entrepreneurs. We will cover topics like "growth hacking", "scaling up", "building scalable relationships", "metrics" and "devops".
SaaS: How We Automated Free Trial Extensions To Increase Paid Conversions By 33%

Great and honest experience report from the guys over at http://trak.io on what they learned from offering free trials. One of their most surprising conclusions: some users ask for an extension of the trail because they simply didn't find enough time to try out the software, but eventually did become paying customers. Great read for all you SaaS companies out there.

Full article: http://blog.trak.io/saas-how-we-automated-free-trial-extensions-to-increase-paid-conversions-by-33/
Measuring the Health of Your SaaS Business: the Ultimate Metrics Guide

As a startup/tech entrepreneur, you should already know you'll need metrics to track the progress of your startup. But what metrics to track? Users? Time on site? MRR? This article gives concrete advise on what to track and when to track during the life time of your startup. For example: if you are not yet at product/market fit, track how dissapointed people would be if you take your product away from them, and work your way towards a 40% "very dissapointed" score.

Full article: http://blog.clarity.fm/saas-analytics-metrics/
Sean Ellis: The Rise of the Growth Hacker

An introductory article on growth hacking by Sean Ellis, the God father of growth hacking. Don't expect deep insights, just plain of traditional marketing vs. growth hacking stuff, but for those not too familiar with this growth thing, a welcome introduction.

Full article: http://blogs.wsj.com/accelerators/2014/05/29/sean-ellis-the-rise-of-the-growth-hacker/
The webscale effect: 6 big shifts in computing, courtesy of the world's largest web companies — Tech News and Analysis

This article talks about 6 big shifts in computing, for all tech entrepreneurs to benefit from. Just 1 example (you'll need to read the rest in the original article): the open source explosion: there is so much in open source these days, that you can literally build an MVP in a matter of days, just mixing and matching one open source library with another. (as a side note: that's exactly what I am doing when I am prototyping stuff).

Full article: http://gigaom.com/2014/05/23/the-webscale-effect-6-big-shifts-in-computing-courtesy-of-the-worlds-biggest-websites/

 

or go to http://www.nebucom.be/blog/2014/06/16/saas-growth-inspiration-01/

 

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How to Price My Saas? Bootcamp

In Lean Startup, a lot of attention is put into discovering the right offer for the right customer segment for your SaaS product. Pricing is left a bit in the dark. Yes, you can test the willingness to pay for your SaaS offering via landing pages. You can offer free plans to attract users, give them an awesome experience and hope they convert to paying customers. Others tell you to get rid of your free plans sooner than later and go for time limited free trails. There is even anecdotal evidence that indicates that a lot of SaaS companies adjust their pricing dramatically over time. You'll find excel sheets to calculate Monthly Recurring Revenue, Churn, Life Time Value, Customer Acquisition Cost and the likes.
But what about your pricing?

All good and well, but what does that mean for your offering? How much would you charge your customers? How will you define your pricing plans? And will your pricing cover your costs (sales, storage, computing, R&D) and leave you in the end with a healthy margin?

In order to help you answer these questions, Sirris will be organizing a 2 session bootcamp in September to help you define your SaaS pricing. Together with a selected team of experts, you'll get all the elements necessary to develop a consistent pricing strategy for your SaaS offering. You will hear about the Pay Later Cash Flow model and the cash flow issues you may face as a SaaS company. Finally, you will enjoy lessons learned sessions by other SaaS companies on how they leveraged free trials and freemium sales tactics. To top it off, you'll be doing homework on your own pricing and have the chance to validate your thinking with experts.
Practical details:

Target Audience: Decision makers (CEO, Founders, CTO) of SaaS companies that want to get the best price for their SaaS.

Dates: September 16th and 25th, 13:00 – 18:00

Format: 2 highly interactive afternoon workshops, with homework and coaching in between the sessions, for a limited audience of max. 8 companies.

Contact us today!
Agenda:
September 16th 2014

The fundamental elements for pricing a SaaS solution: Pricing strategy guideline framework for SaaS vendors, M.R. Spruit, Utrecht University
Lean Pricing, pricing strategies for Startups, Omar Mohout, Sirris
Cash forecasting for the Pay Later Model, Peter Verhasselt, Sirris

September 25th 2014

Pricing your SaaS solution: feedback from experts
Case study: SaaS billing: Lionel Anciaux, Emixis

Location

Diamant Building, A.Reyerslaan 80, 1030 Brussels
Price

399 euro/company.

2 seats/company. For companies based in Flanders, a KMO portefeuile subsidy might be applicable.

Contact us today!
Experts:

Marco Spruit is a researcher/lecturer in the Business Informatics research group at the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences of Utrecht University where he lectures in Business Intelligence and Life Sciences & Health Informatics.

Peter Verhasselt is an engineer, jurist and strategist with a large network in Belgian high tech industry. Peter has started and led the Mistral program at Sirris that guided 70+ companies in finding the right technology strategy to enable growth.

Omar Mohout is a Growth Engineer – building repeatable, scalable customer acquisition engines for technology companies. Omar is author of "Lean Pricing, pricing strategies for Startups"

(from Nebcucom.be, by the Nebucom team)

Until you've sold a product that you haven't customized, at a price you haven't adjusted, to a customer that you don't know, then you're not growing a SaaS business. You're growing a services business, or a short-term charity. intercom.io

In Lean Startup, a lot of attention is put into discovering the right offer for the right customer segment for your SaaS product. Pricing is left a bit in the dark. Yes, you can test the willingness to pay for your SaaS offering via landing pages. You can offer free plans to attract users, give them an awesome experience and hope they convert to paying customers. Others tell you to get rid of your free plans sooner than later and go for time limited free trails. There is even anecdotal evidence that indicates that a lot of SaaS companies adjust their pricing dramatically over time. You'll find excel sheets to calculate Monthly Recurring Revenue, Churn, Life Time Value, Customer Acquisition Cost and the likes.
But what about your pricing?

All good and well, but what does that mean for your offering? How much would you charge your customers? How will you define your pricing plans? And will your pricing cover your costs (sales, storage, computing, R&D) and leave you in the end with a healthy margin?

In order to help you answer these questions, Sirris will be organizing a 2 session bootcamp in September to help you define your SaaS pricing. Together with a selected team of experts, you'll get all the elements necessary to develop a consistent pricing strategy for your SaaS offering. You will hear about the Pay Later Cash Flow model and the cash flow issues you may face as a SaaS company. Finally, you will enjoy lessons learned sessions by other SaaS companies on how they leveraged free trials and freemium sales tactics. To top it off, you'll be doing homework on your own pricing and have the chance to validate your thinking with experts.
Date and Location

For more information about thei event : http://www.nebucom.be/blog/2014/06/03/freemium-free-trails-basic-pro-and-enterprise-plans-saas-pricing-is-hard/

Today, an increasing number of companies are abandoning traditional, on-premise software packages for SaaS. And why wouldn't they? Hosting your company software elsewhere enables you to rationalize investments, adapt more smoothly in a quickly evolving IT landscape, and access applications wherever you need them. In addition, software developers receive valuable user data, enabling them to update their solutions to fit their customers' needs. But with that increased flexibility come some major security challenges.

Despite an increasing awareness of security and privacy issues in online applications — hello there, NSA — there is a remarkable online scarcity of information and best practices for software developers looking to step up their security levels. There is (http://www.owasp.org), for example; an open source community dedicated to improving the security of software. As far as I know, however, only a few developers keep this treasure of information close to their chest. Odd, considering the grave consequences security breaches can have, resulting in the leak of sensitive information ranging from financial data and contacts thru' to designs and engineering models. And in every single case, the developer's reputation will be severely damaged.
Striking the right balance

In many aspects, the evolution toward SaaS demands a whole new perspective on IT security, at least for the SaaS providers. First, in the traditional software development model, software updates were rather infrequent. This allowed time for thorough security audits with every new version. Today's SaaS applications, however, have a far higher release frequency — up to ten updates per day. For developers and providers, the challenge consists in finding a balance between adapting quickly to outsmart the competition and meet your clients' needs, and offering the best possible protection. On top of that, most SaaS applications are built on top of numerous (open source) building blocks offered by third parties. They too have their release schedules, security issues, etc. Just last week, the discovery of the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug forced virtually all SaaS builders to update their servers as quickly as possible.
Shielding floods of data

Second, the amount of data floating around nowadays is simply staggering. Successful SaaS providers—think SalesForce, Google AdWords, and many, many others—have millions and millions of customers. Their data is often stored in the same database, increasing the risk of undesired data flows. On top of that, most applications today don't stand alone, but are part of an ecosystem where several solutions make use of each other's components. For example, consider a Twitter app combined with a social media monitoring tool and a data visualization app, or CRM software that links to your e-mail app. This interconnectivity, as well as the fact that cloud- and SaaS solutions are globally accessible, makes them particularly vulnerable to threats and attacks.

In the next episode, we'll discover how big data does more than just increase our vulnerability. When put to good use, it can also provide a solution to the challenges mentioned above. In fact, many companies are already doing that today. Keep your eyes peeled!

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