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Naked and Afraid™ – a true test for SaaS?

Today we see many examples of companies marketing a Software as a Service (SaaS) product. My, have we quickly gotten loose with how we use that word. Bourbon too has really unbuckled the belt on its definition–at least by some–but that’s another blog.

One can recognize Salesforce as the first SaaS company, though some may also argue it has drifted from that core orientation. At any rate, the company defines SaaS on its website as: “a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management.”  The key phrase here is the “freeing yourself” part of the definition. Hold that thought.

The show Naked and Afraid™ is a reality TV program on the Discovery channel where a 2 person co-ed team, with varying levels of survival training, get dropped off in a hostile natural environment, challenged to survive for 14 days without any assistance. They arrive at their destination separately and fully clothed, but are instructed to disrobe before walking toward each other, to say hello in the nude. All seem quite confident and optimistic on day one.  But most, if not all, end up pretty afraid at some point. The twist here is that they are allowed to bring with them only TWO objects: a burlap satchel and one personal item. This other item is often a machete, flint fire starter, rope, or some other key object that will make their survival more probable.

Many so-called SaaS products being offered today still require complex software management, development or configuration before you can use them.  And while as a customer you may “free yourself” from the labor of this task, if you need to pay or wait for it, then in our book, you haven’t “freed yourself” and it ain’t SaaS – it’s tech enabled service. Tech enabled services certainly have value as they require professionals to configure or customize or prepare the technology for your use. And boy do you pay for that value, which is usually delivered by people. And whenever there are people involved, there are higher costs, wait times, lack of control, and reiterations.  And when a change is required, a cost is incurred. In short, it limits your ability to do more of what you want.

True SaaS, like the show Naked and Afraid™, is something we like to classify by the ability to achieve your goals with only TWO things: a username and password. Your success is up to you, without waiting on others or paying for their time.  At ProofPilot, this is our core premise – our belief that your organization can radically scale its ability to design and execute rigorous research with just two things: a username and password. We don’t downplay the need for intelligence and smart decision making. It’s just that we believe that you are best suited to make those research decisions for your products and ideas, and we are here to give you the best tools to do exactly that.