At first glance, you may have thought the title was a typo – “multi” prem? Not on-prem? Not cloud? You may also be wondering what multi-prem software even means. It’s a legitimate question that begs a deeper explanation.
Over the past 20+ years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the evolution of software development and delivery from monolithic on-premises to SaaS – but one thing remains consistent: I’ve never met a CIO/CSO who was comfortable with handing custody of their data to third parties in a SaaS model. “Resigned” might be a better description.
2020 and 2021 have seen an unprecedented level of private and public sector exposure to data breaches. In a perfect world, most enterprises would really prefer an alternative to multi-tenant SaaS. Enterprise needs solutions that provide more comprehensive control over their data. Until recently, these companies were faced with an unavoidable trade-off decision: Purchase on-premise software and absorb the costs and inefficiency in exchange for data integrity; or adopt the efficiency and operational ease of SaaS, surrendering control of their data to 100s of vendors of all sizes.
Fortunately, today we need not make that tradeoff. Containerized architecture and software development pipelines like CI/CD bring automation, uniformity, scalability, and observability to software deployment and management. And this now enables the packaging of cloud-native applications for multiple customer environments, including on-premises, private clouds, and airgapped servers.
This is multi-prem. A means of bundling and delivering software entirely agnostic of the environment it will be deployed to. According to Synergy Research Group, in 2019 the SaaS market sat in the shadow of traditional on-prem, making up only about 20 percent of total enterprise spending. As the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) for Replicated, where we provide software vendors a platform for easily deploying cloud-native apps inside customers’ environments, I’d like to share four ways multi-prem software delivery can – and will – increase your company sales and how you can better tap into this $400B market.
Companies that deliver a multi-prem option have had an advantage when approaching companies in the verticals of finance, healthcare, pharma, the Department of Defense, and more. CIOs and CTOs of companies within these verticals have never fully embraced SaaS. Today, we are seeing a big push toward virtual private cloud as a controlled environment. However, deploying to an unknown environment can be difficult for a SaaS company to tackle, requiring development work on two versions of their application (a SaaS version and an on-prem version). Software vendors need the ability to deliver to any destination irrespective of where the customer wants to go or they are forced to make a tradeoff, deliver to a customer-controlled environment, or lose a sale.
This goes for opening up sales opportunities in new geographies too. During my time in Asia working as a CRO for a global multi-million dollar SaaS vendor we were precluded from doing business in markets like Korea or China unless we committed to building data centers “in country” – something that just wasn’t feasible without a revenue stream to off-set that level of investment. In Europe, GDPR requirements are forcing many companies to rethink how to deliver their applications to many customers. There are so many different, stringent data privacy and data sovereignty laws that must be followed, and with multi-prem delivery, your applications can be delivered in a way that fits the customer’s requirements from a security perspective, while also conforming to regional regulatory guidelines.
If you’re a SaaS vendor, there are a lot of hoops to go through for security and compliance teams in an Enterprise sales motion. Most of us have been in positions where a compliance review pops up just as we are working to negotiate and close a deal, resulting in the dreaded “slip” to the next quarter. By delivering an on-prem solution, a software vendor can circumvent a lot of the challenges that can stall deals for months because the end customer has confidence in the security and compliance of the environment they set up and control themselves.
Many software vendors have acquired other companies and technologies over time, and often they have different delivery mechanisms for different products. Some are SaaS, some are strictly on-prem, which makes cross-sell and up-sell opportunities difficult. It can be really frustrating for sales. Having the ability to deliver the full product suite via a multi-prem approach when requested improves your cross-sell and up-sell of different products by making the implementation of multiple products smooth and seamless.
At Replicated we work with a wide variety of SaaS and traditional on-prem software companies that have experienced the value of selling their applications multi-prem to deliver their applications to enterprise customers anywhere and in any environment, from private cloud to bare metal. Where it was once considered a build-only option, these partners have chosen us to simplify packaging, licensing, automation, security, and support so deals move faster and they no longer have to leave money on the table.
Regardless of how you choose to go after multi-prem sales opportunities, this market will continue to grow and so will the customer roster. By offering a wide range of software deployment environments, your organization can be non-discriminatory when targeting potential customers. If you want to open up new customer and revenue opportunities, offering multi-prem software delivery options is a sure-fire way to do just that.
Dustin Dean currently serves as Chief Revenue Officer for Replicated, inc. Before joining Replicated in early 2020, he served in similar roles for early-stage startups Elliptic LTD and Snaps, Inc, leveraging his previous 12 years of experience in the digital messaging space to help Snaps pivot into a true B2B SaaS provider. His background includes several years of international work, with a substantial amount of time spent outside the US in the Asia-Pacific region. In his free time, Dustin indulges in fly-fishing, deep-sea diving, mountain biking, and reading. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from Michigan State University.