Measuring up: The Existential Crisis for Commercial Software Distribution

Nikki Rouda
Apr 11, 2023

Independent software vendors (ISVs) need to urgently rethink how they distribute their applications to their customers' self-managed environments (i.e. on-premises, VPC, or air-gapped environments). Without more useful metrics to give them insights to their actual holistic performance, they have hidden problems they can't quantify or address, which threaten their success.

Today many vendors are realizing:

  1. They don't measure enough things.
  2. They can't measure more because it's too hard to get data.
  3. They don't have the data to create alignment with all stakeholders.

Real context on commercial software distribution

Traditional on-premises software still dominates the landscape of enterprise IT spending on 3rd-party, commercial applications. While SaaS-only vendors striving for market share often reference these facts like "it's still the first inning for SaaS" or "the legacy vendors that need replacing" the point is that much of IT spend is still going toward self-hosted software and infrastructure. In fact, 75% of ISVs indicate their on-premises software business has grown over the last 5 years, per a study by Dimensional Research. Unfortunately, the narrative often doesn't follow this reality and the teams responsible for enterprise software distribution are dramatically under-staffed and under-resourced. They're often so underwater on the work of distributing their application to customer environments that they rarely have a moment to think about what metrics they should be measuring and what "good" really looks like.


Read the rest of the blog on the VMblog site.