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BLOGDigital Transformation Strategy: Transformation to SAAS

by Randall CraigFiled in: Make It Happen Tipsheet, Blog, Digital Strategy, Planning, Strategy, TechnologyTagged as:

Is there a path to transition your business from a traditional model to a SAAS one?SAAS (Software as a Service) is certainly appealing, in that it is a subscription-based business that continues to generate revenue, month after month after month.

Digital Transformation Strategy: Transformation to SAAS

Here are four steps to begin the process:

1. Define your “as a service”: At one time, it only meant software. It may have been an API (applications programming interface), a webhook, plug-in, a website, or some other mechanism that provided metered functionality, either to another application, or to a person. Today, it may also mean data-as-a-service, where the value was also commuted through access to data. Or it can include a hybrid that includes interaction with a real person or team.

Many organizations that decide to make the switch realize that there is a specific process that they do over and over, and that if automated (sometimes with AI), and with an appropriate interface, it can be sold in the market. Are there these processes within your organization?

2. Define your market: Even if you can build it, who will buy it, and at what price? And are the benefits to your SAAS product so compelling that your future customers would switch? And are there substitutes that can do the same for far less? And how big is the market? Will the size of the market justify the investment of building and running it? Too often these business questions are not considered early enough in the process: a business plan — even a short one — is critical.

3. Build the product: Instead of building the product fully-formed, build a minimum viable product (MVP). Then select some “friendlies” to be development/beta partners, to provide feedback on each iteration of the product as it is built out. Not only will this provide a reality check, it will help build a history that will be critical when the product launched. And of course, the MVP will allow you to mid-course correct as you search for the optimal product-market fit.

4. Build the organization: A SAAS organization is built differently than a traditional product or project business. At the same time as the SAAS product is being built out, the organization needs to learn how to market, sell, and support the new SAAS customer. This might mean changes in organizational structure, and staff responsibilities.


If you’re thinking of making the transition, then start with step one. This week, tease apart your organization’s processes and systems, and put together a list of SAAS possibilities. And if you’re not thinking of SAAS right now, still consider the possibility: what might it look like?

Related post: Viewpoint: Software as a Service (SAAS) – An Unwelcome Future?

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