September 05, 2012 - 7:14 PM
Is your SaaS value proposition convincing enough without automatic data entry?
Imagine you’ve just created the next ‘killer’ Software as a Service (SaaS) app and you are absolutely convinced your new software service is going to revolutionize a particular industry or solve a significant pain point for organizations all over the world. You create some compelling sales and marketing materials with a heavy emphasis on Return on Investment. After all, you have conviction that your service is going to help businesses decrease operational costs, improve worker productivity and provide much better access to information which all translates to achieving tangible payback on your customer’s technology investment.
So you’ve done your research, you’ve developed the software application; you created awesome marketing materials, assembled a sales team and created a terrific support structure but for some reason your totally revolutionary SaaS application just isn’t selling as well as you had hoped. Do you think that you might be overlooking a feature or function that is so fundamental to providing tangible Return on Investment that customers simply cannot so “No” to immediately deploying your innovative solution?
Time is money
I might really be overstating the obvious but employers pay employees to work, not do data entry. Whether your core expertise is in accounting, customer service or mechanical, your employer pays you to spend a majority of your time focusing on your respective skills. However, organizations often overlook the total amount of time that is consumed with such tedious activities such as manually entering data from a bank statement into an accounting system. Or how many total hours field service technicians are spending collecting and entering work order data into an ERP system. These are real, tangible costs that the organization is paying. This directly relates to unrealized business productivity and effects the financial bottom-line significantly. Time is money and time utilized manually entering data into systems is, quite frankly, a waste.
Use cases for Information Capture
Let’s take a look at a few use case scenarios and focus on Mobile Information Capture, specifically, since there is a lot of interest in this area and there is an abundance of data to support that this is one of the greatest opportunities to achieve quick return on investment.
First, consider the industry of Field Service technicians. According to a November 2011 study by Dave Wood of Harvey Spencer Associates (HSA) entitled “A Study of the Mobile Capture Marketing in the United States”, he cites DF Blumberg Associates as sizing the Field Service market at $225 billion in 2011 and growing to $500 billion by 2018 with nearly half of the 3 million workers using mobile productivity solutions by then. Since a good majority of these mobile devices will most likely be equipped with a camera this translates directly into a great opportunity to provide these workers with the ability to nearly effortlessly snap pictures of objects such as work order signatures, checks for payment, assessment photos or even invoices and then automatically have the data extracted from these images to populate database fields in a Field Service SaaS application. Just to name a few of the Field Service benefits for Mobile Capture could be enhanced customer service, the ability to realize the payments quicker and, of course, improve overall worker efficiency.
In a second use case scenario, also taking data from the same Mobile Capture Market survey, consider the Transportation industry. For the survey, they focused on Long Haul Trucking. They found that this particular market featured 1.9 million trucks and 1.7 million deliveries daily. The research showed that each delivery generated a packet of documents that must be captured for invoicing, with an average of 5 pages per packet. This translated into a total capture volume of this market of 8.5 million documents PER business day. The types of items that needed to be captured will slightly vary depending on the particular trucking organization, yet generally documents such as Bills of Lading, Trip Sheets, Scale Tickets and Vehicle Expense Receipts were common amongst most organizations. After some calculation of the projected number of drivers that will have access to dedicated scanners or multifunction devices, the survey predicted that approximately 400,000 drivers will have only smart phones as their primary capture device. This presents a terrific opportunity to capture all these documents DURING the trip instead of waiting until the trip is complete which could be days, or even weeks later.
The last use case scenario shared by the HSA survey was general Capture to Cloud. This was predicted to be, by-far, the largest growth opportunity for Mobile Capture and anyone would be hard pressed to argue this prediction. With the prediction of 2 billion smart phones by 2018 and cloud storage vendors competing like crazy for market share, it only stands to reason that these factors are going to contribute to huge growth for Capture to Cloud applications using mobile devices.
Bringing easy to use, yet highly-effective Ubiquitous Information Capture into the mix
Now that you have your killer SaaS app ready for primetime. Your story is polished and you are earning business because your SaaS application is addressing customer pain points such as decreasing operational costs, improving worker productivity and providing better access to information. You can prove, without a doubt, a tangible Return on Investment with reduced labor costs associated with manual data entry and you recognize the unbelievable potential in the Mobile Capture market, so the question begs, ‘what do you do to make your SaaS application even more appealing to potential customers?’
‘Add Data Capture to you SaaS’ is the answer. It’s really that simple. The technology has evolved over the past couple years so that the technology offers extremely advanced features and functions that are completely transparent to the users themselves. This helps achieve a pleasant user experience which helps drive adoption of the solution among users. Additionally, the behind-the-scenes technology is performing tasks traditionally done by humans so the processing is highly effective from an automation standpoint. The user simply snaps a picture and this technology can automatic recognize the type of document and will intelligently extract all the information from the image.
With this new Data Capture capability not only will your SaaS application provide a much more elegant user experience but you can absolutely guarantee cost savings to your customers with the quantifiable amount of time that is recouped by not having users do manual data entry. The benefits of your SaaS can be incrementally increased with this new Data Capture capability. Overall you can offer a truly appealing ROI story before you even being to discuss all the wonderful capabilities of your particular application. The additional features are just like icing on the cake to solidify the sale.
Total Hours x Dollars per Hour = Tangible Cost Savings
This helps achieve a few things in your favor as the preferred software vendor of choice:
Encourages your customers to make a quicker decision on purchase and implementation of your solution because every day they choose not to make a decision they are squandering money and resources
Helps differentiate your application from competitors with valuable business functionality that makes the user experience much more enjoyable and helps drive higher adoption rates
The likelihood of selling more subscriptions to your customers is higher because they can justify adding more licenses due to the fact that they have proven ROI
So, are you ready to take your killer SaaS app to the next level with Ubiquitous Information Capture?
As always, I’m interested in your comments, questions or feedback.
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This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International