Disrupting the VAR Channel with Customizable SaaS and Business Experts

We recently announced the launch of the Intuit QuickBase Business Consultant Program.  The program is a new effort for QuickBase to target partners who are interested in building a business to deliver customized (right-for-me) applications to their customers.  I think what we’re launching is a pretty compelling opportunity for Solution Providers to build strong businesses.  In doing some of the press interviews, I tried to focus the  message down to three key elements:

1)      The Traditional VAR channel is being disrupted by SaaS.  The low cost and speed of implementation severely cuts into traditional VAR margins.  Oh, and Saas is here to stay – it’s real!

2)      Inflexible SaaS solutions don’t offer a great model for VAR’s or Solution Providers.  If the product is fixed and implementation is simple, where does that leave a VAR?  With the relatively low cost of the ASP, a pure reseller has to do a ton of volume to be successful.

3)      QuickBase is a great solution for VAR’s and Business Experts.  Why?  First, because QuickBase is completely customizable.  Solution Providers can leverage their domain expertise, consult with their customers, and deliver a perfect solution for each customer.  Secondly, using SaaS as the platform, they can do it faster and with significantly less upfront costs than traditional software.  And lastly,  while QuickBase is certainly powerful enough to integrate with an Enterprise’s backend systems, it’s also simple enough for non-engineers to build powerful applications.  This lets a consulting company load up on business experts (where the real value is to the customer) and still deliver the perfect app.

I’ll tell some of the success stories from our current Business Consultants in future posts, but I think the program is summed up well with Cullen Coates (Crystal Bay Solutions) quote from the press release.                

“Today, I can deliver a custom-built QuickBase application in a quarter of the time, at half the cost and twice the margin.”

As Jeff Kaplan from ThinkStrategie said in his Top Ten Reasons why On-Demand Services will Soar in 2008, “VARs have been afraid that SaaS would ‘dis-intermediate’ them by eliminating their consulting and custom application development business…(but)… Channel companies are also discovering that there are still consulting and customization opportunities in the SaaS market.”  QuickBase is that opportunity!

  • Alex Chriss

    *UPDATE*

    I found another great resource from ERPSoftware360.com quoting an IDC research report:

    According to IDC research analyst Darren Bibby, “For traditional partners who made their money on finding IT complexity and solving it, a lot of that goes away with Software as a Service.” In a recent 2007 IDC research report titled “The Emerging SaaS Channel”, IDC offers advice and suggests partners adopt the below strategies.

    1) Make yourself essential to customers by lending business process expertise to improve their SaaS experience.

    2) Make yourself indispensable to SaaS manufacturers top line revenue production with your sales, marketing and referral capabilities.

    3) Provide system integration to legacy applications and across customers SaaS systems.

    [Reply]

  • Alex Chriss

    *UPDATE*

    I found another great resource from ERPSoftware360.com quoting an IDC research report:

    According to IDC research analyst Darren Bibby, “For traditional partners who made their money on finding IT complexity and solving it, a lot of that goes away with Software as a Service.” In a recent 2007 IDC research report titled “The Emerging SaaS Channel”, IDC offers advice and suggests partners adopt the below strategies.

    1) Make yourself essential to customers by lending business process expertise to improve their SaaS experience.

    2) Make yourself indispensable to SaaS manufacturers top line revenue production with your sales, marketing and referral capabilities.

    3) Provide system integration to legacy applications and across customers SaaS systems.

    [Reply]