Ultimately, switching from ISV to SaaS means switching from a strict development role to one of development and operations. This isn’t just writing new code, it’s retooling the organization.
Security is no longer about making sure that the codebase is private and virus-free; it’s ensuring that production servers don’t get hacked and that support personnel are briefed against social engineering.
Payment moves from the finance department to become an operational concern involving gateways and automation.
QA becomes a continuous analytical process, more about experimentation and adaptivity and less about following the specification to the letter.
A significant amount of development skill is focused on operational efficiency, from onboarding new clients without human involvement to dealing with common service requests with scripts instead of clicks.
The legal department is more concerned with terms of service and less with individual customer contracts or RFP responses.
Product Management spends more time with analytics and customer surveys, and less time talking to large customers directly.
New operational skills are required to tackle infrastructure issues, such as managing cloud resources, configuring monitoring systems, handling outages and escalations, optimizing performance, and managing capacity efficiently.
For many ISVs making the move to SaaS, strategic outsourcing of some of these functions is the only way to transition effectively. In-demand talent can be costly, and takes time to recruit. The ISV needs access to known patterns and best practices immediately, and must focus on what makes it unique. That means dealing with innovation higher up the stack, and leaving lower-level issues to others.
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