If you are a software vendor, you are constantly making choices as to how to evolve your software to stay relevant in the ever-changing market. Whether your software addresses a specific business function or a specific industry, you are probably facing collaboration and productivity expectations from your clients, whether you realize it or not. The good news is that you do not need to acquire collaboration software skills and develop beyond your core business proposition. You can embed tools and features developed by a third party.
Below is a quick summary of what you will gain.
Benefit from the booming market
Previously labeled enterprise social collaboration, the enterprise communications and collaboration market is growing fast. While the growth rates for global enterprise software markets are small, the collaboration tools market has grown by 40% in recent years, and is expected to reach possibly $4.5 billion this year (IDC). Not only is the collaboration market fast growing, it is also hyped and booming with new tools and applications. As a consequence, introducing some collaborative features into your offer increases your relevance in today’s enterprise software landscape.
Increase your revenues by meeting your clients’ expectations
ISVs often forget that enterprises are full of people, aka employees, aka users, and this population is changing from baby boomers to millennials. New-generation users are accustomed to collaborative experiences in their daily life. Notifications, social activity streams, collaboration groups, and full mobile access have long become mainstream and are now expected from any digital experience. If your application lacks these features, it will inevitably become obsolete to its users.
Enterprises are increasingly aware of this need for modernization. Thus, digital transformation and modernization of core enterprise applications are mentioned in the top of Gartner’s list of enterprise IT drivers.
IDC’s analyst Michael Fauscette states that “companies will increasingly want to integrate and even embed social software into all enterprise applications, so it is essential for vendors to provide open APIs and capabilities to put social software into the enterprise workflow.”
When clients look for modernized in-house applications, they also expect software vendors to modernize.
Once you decide that you need some collaboration and productivity in your software, the question is how to get it: via in-house development or via embedded external software. Below are some additional benefits to choosing the second option.
Save time to market
If you are reading this, chances are you have not yet started on your roadmap and planning, while the market is already there and the clients are already expecting. Basically, at this point, you risk missing the boat entirely unless you manage to deliver in record time.
Embedding external software into your application shortens the time to market as you need to concern yourself only with the integration, not development.
Save on R&D costs
If you choose to embed external software rather than conducting internal research and development, you will surely save on R&D costs. Sure, purchasing the license costs something, either as an upfront fee or via a payback percent from sales, but overall you will save money. If you ever did an estimation for an R&D project, you know how fast those development + productization costs pile up.
An additional bonus: you will have total control of the costs vs benefits ratio here. You pay for software that already exists and is available for testing and use. With in-house developments you pay now in the hope of a nice feature later, which can be especially challenging if collaboration is not your core business.
Benefit from R&D expertise
When you are familiar with software development, you know that there is much more to it than taking a bunch of developers and putting them to work for a couple of weeks.
Collaboration and productivity features are among those user-oriented tools for which the user experience is critical, and a nice spec and design play a huge role in the final product. Chances are you lack collaboration software skills in house. Using expert software automatically gives you the results of this R&D expertise.
Too often, we forget that any product needs to evolve. Just like your main software suit that is constantly updated and improved, the collaborative parts of your offer will need to be improved to stay in line with demands. Thus, if you start those developments in house, you need to invest, not just in a one-shot R&D effort, but in a permanent expert team. Embedding someone else’s product does mean giving up your roadmap control, but in exchange, your software collaboration part constantly evolves in line with the market trends.
Maintain your strategic focus
Choosing to use someone else’s collaboration components gives you the benefits of a modern capability without jeopardizing your main roadmap and development focus.
Erase maintenance costs
Of course choosing a software partner for your collaboration features would also mean outsourced maintenance costs for this part of your suite. No need to invest in a support and maintenance team.
Here is an older post from us, describing some of the ways to embed modern features into your suite.