written by owen on 2019-Jan-04.
The coming year 2019 is going to post new challenges for cloud software. These challenges can be averted by implementing some key strategies which will ensure consistent growth and profitability;
API end points are a must have in any cloud software. If there is something on the internet that has an API then you should be able to easily connect to it. This is a best way to lure in API junkies. Never provide any way exporting the data. The goal is to make it difficult - if not impossible - for customers to leave your platform.
Rolling Updates, Changes and Support patches.
Release minor updates and fixes on a regular and consistent basis to generate noise, puff articles and buzz on social media. This can be used as a means of signalling constant support and innovation. The evolving tech landscape needs to generate constant churn in order to stay relevant. Prevent users and IT departments from sitting on old versions. force mandatory updates even if you do not make any significant changes.
Never Fix Customer Issues too soon
Issues can be released as features in future releases. The longer major issues remain outstanding the more buzz around them that can be generated on social media and in the community. Create 10 year long milestones, roadmaps and product release timelines to show long term commitment to your platform and keep people waiting indefinately.
Create a community around suggesting Ideas, Issues and Bugs
A community of people suggesting ideas and bugs will simplify social media marketing and encourage constant tweet storms. Additionally ideas can be poached from the community at will and released as features in the future. Direct all your customers to post ideas and suggestions to this area as a means of giving them busy work and hope for better things.
Promote Open source Technology
Open source technology has a large following among people who like APIs. Providing more end points for integration and hooks encourages developer participation. Also ensure that all developers register and setup API keys so that they can be monitored, trolled and herded like cattle. Never accept commits to your repo.
Promote the consultant ecosystem, local events and tutorials
There is no better PR than having a herd of consultants who are willing to act as a free sales team. More consultants means more social media buzz. Encouraging a group of people to position their entire livelyhood to depend on your platform ensures that they will never say negative things about your platform. This also has a side effect of creating a good hiring pool for your company.
Promote your paid services as free
The best way to build your customer base is to provide a free entry point - a tool/tier which can demonstrate the best features of your software while being useless and unshareable. Customer on boarding is crucial for building an ecosystem around cloud software. Ensure that you do not release new updates and limit the sharing functionality to discourage people for actually using the free version for anything productive.
Discourage on premise and competing legacy tools
Cloud tech and terminal services are the way of the future. On premises solutions are legacy. The primary goal should be to get every client, their users and data into your federated cloud storage so that they can be easily monetized on a monthly basis. Data in the cloud can be better diagnosed and used to improve cloud solutions, ascertain gaps in service delivery. Also monitoring the userbase in real-time allows for the understanding of scenarios that are common across entities and a way to further improve/exploit the cloud user base through mining their data (anonymously of course).
Never let anyone know how your platform works
Like Artificial intelligence your platform should be a black box. No one should be able to guess how it works. Even if they are close to guessing you should actively create diversions. This is the best way to remain agile and innovative. Make up new names for your tech as often as you can to keep your competitors and customers guessing. Say that it is magic if your have to. Redefine common terminology as often as you can. Quantum computing, zero touch, VR, blockchain, petabyte processing, whatever you can dream up - the more complicated sounding the better. The main point is that it will give the impression that it is impossible anyone else to do it and you are leading customer confidence in your technology. A kind ignorance is bliss situation.
Create a network of co-dependant services and products
It is not profitable to have one complete and functional product. It is better to have multiple products that have separate but needed features so that you can sell separate licenses and offer bundle packages. This creates a software eco-system so that no one service is ever "complete". This will allow for easy upselling of the unique feature set of each product. Additional benefits include separate blogs, communities, branding and social media for each product. It is all about increasing the value proposition and creating confusion as to which products is actually needed.
Cloud services are the future in the digital age. Positioning is crucial to reaching critical mass in the cloud domain. Leveraging best practices is the only way to capitalize on the potentially unlimited virtual economy.