Google released something today – a tool called The Customer Journey to Online Purchase. While this just a standalone tool at the moment, I’m sure we’ll witness parts of its capabilities integrated into Google Analytics at some point in the near future.
This release, together a few more startups dotting the landscape (like RelateIQ, as described by Scott Raney of Redpoint, or indeni, on whose blog this post appears) are heralding a new generation of SaaS: the crowd-sourced SaaS. Brian Ascher of Venrock calls it Data-Driven Applications, and so does Scott Raney. However, I believe that term is confusing. Data-Driven causes too many people to think about applications that let you access and visualize data and that’s not what we’re talking about here.
The next generation of SaaS is when the service provided to customers keeps evolving over time based on the data that is stored within it. What would happen if Salesforce.com collected all the data its customers store in its service, analyzes it and uses the results to provide more value to its own customers? indeni is a SFDC customer and I’m sure our data would greatly benefit from being analysed by an automated system that has seen how the data of other SaaS companies looks like. I’m not talking Jigsaw here. I’m talking actionable insights. The kind that derive from data being turned into knowledge.
You see, SaaS is no longer just about being cheaper and easier to use, which is what Salesforce.com started with and Brian Ascher details so well in his Forbes post. That revolution is done – it’s reality now. The question a lot of people are asking themselves is what is the next revolution in software and crowd-driven SaaS is my bet. My belief in it is so big, that I’ve bet my livelihood on it.
I’d be very interested to learn about others who are working on bringing us all to the next level. As with all revolutions that are just starting – it’s very difficult to find on Google who is doing it. We’ll need to go old-school and actually use word-of-mouth. So reach my on twitter: @yonadavl