Understanding the life-cycle of software business is one of the key success factors for any software vendor. Let me explain why. It occurred to me during past year after having had a chance to meet and run numerous business modeling workshops for software companies of different size that one of the most common problem that organizations have is to have an understanding where they are in the life-cycle of the solution.
Common problems for software organizations and how to identify them
The way you can recognize this is by having a discussion with different functions within the organization. What I have found out is that in many of the cases is as follows:
- The sales function does not have a clear understanding where R&D and product management is with its software development efforts.
- Marketing does not have a clear picture when it is expected initiate marketing efforts of the solution and what kind of marketing materials its should have.
- DevOps is missing completely even if the software vendor has moved to a SaaS-based software delivery model.
- Product support is not equipped to support a 24 x 7 model as the software vendor is now running the infrastructure environment.
- Channel organization does not have a clear picture what kind of business model its channel partner expect to have.
After having analyzed and reflected on my experiences in all of these cases, the common denominator of the “misalignment” is not necessarily that the organization is not capable of dealing with these issues. The main contributor is that most of these organizations are undergoing a change in both business model as well as architectural model and technology. Each one of these have a tremendous impact on the software organization and to deal with this, one has to have a process in place how to identify the gaps and how to get the team aligned and aim at the same objectives and timelines. This is one of my key objectives when running my workshops and getting people to realize what needs to be done, when and who is responsible for it each task/objective and how to ensure successful execution of a business model. In all of my analysis, I use Business Model Canvas to identify the gaps and what the organization need to be focused on going forward.