Monday, 12 October 2015

The eSourcing eVolution Part II - The Present

This is part two (read part one here) of a three piece blog providing an in-depth analysis of the evolution of eSourcing around the question: 
"What would Market Dojo be like today if it had started 10 years earlier?" 

Following on from the previous post 10 Years Older, “The Past”, we examine what we would look like in this day and age as a bold 15 year old, as opposed to the playful 5 year old that Market Dojo is today.

Market Dojo today provides a cloud-based eSourcing solution. Having been created by procurement professionals with a wealth of experience in consultancy, the tool really addresses the issues of usability that were seen with competitors. The Market Dojo co-founders were able to draw upon their experience of running managed auctions to create an application that was really easy to use not only for the hosts of the online negotiation events, but for the suppliers participating too.

But what if Market Dojo was not the Market Dojo we know and love today? What if Market Dojo had started 10 years earlier? How would having this extra 10 years of market experience define it today?

In the previous article we established that the eSourcing market in 2000 in comparison with that of 2010 (when MD formed) was a completely different kettle of fish! i.e. eSourcing in the year 2000 was in its infancy. Complex SaaS applications did not really appear until 2005 and therefore, Market Dojo as it stands would most likely not exist in the Millennium.  If it had formed, we would have started with web-based single-installed version of Market Dojo, but the delivery model of it would have been very primitive in comparison to today’s. We would have had to use a multitude of different means of communication and our growth over the 15 years until today would have shaped us into something else entirely.

The table below shows a comparison of what we would look like today being 5 years old and today being 15 years old.  As you can see the differences are quite substantial.


Market Dojo today as a...
5 year old
15 year old
Business
Saas
SaaS but sold as if it is on-premise, i.e. multi-instance with support fees, implementation fees, long-term contracts, contingent fees etc.
Best of breed/niche provider
Swallowed up by a bigger company
Focus on self-service
Huge consultancy arm within Market Dojo
Working with a number of partners, resellers and consultants
Conflict of working with partners/consultants since that competes with our own staff.
Virtual offices to support clients & our employees across the globe.
Local offices required to sell and support the product.
Licencing
On-demand
Long term contracts to claw back high cost of sales & support
Single fee called 'licence cost'
Licence cost, support cost, implementation cost, training cost, managed services cost, hosting cost
Keep the philosophy and focus on customer self-service, as this is the future.
Protect interests of keeping it complex to ensure survival of the business model, or totally revamp/sabotage the business model to move with the times.
Development
Instant upgrades and maintenance
Periodic client roll-out and separate fees
Version control = Market Dojo, that's it. 100% same from one client to the next.
Market Dojo v10.1 then v10.2 then v10.3 then v11.001 then.....
Agile development team in 2 week sprints
Complex waterfall development routine with releases every 6-12 months
Very low overheads and high degree of R&D
Low R&D and high overheads.
Keep enhancing the software and develop new tools to make them even easier to adopt and use.
Keep enhancing the service provision to protect the staff or let staff go to focus on the software.
Usability
Colourful, playful, attractive software that's enjoyable to use
Grey, grey, grey with lots of tick-boxes and drop-downs.
Compatible with many browsers plus tablets and smartphones
You must use Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8 please.
Benefits for the end user and enhanced dashboards for management
Thrust of application about managerial reports with little thought for end user usability.

Today we offer a cloud-based solution with a focus on adoption and self-service. As a niche provider, we are able to focus on providing a best-of-breed solution, allowing us to form links with a number of partners, resellers and consultants. Customers are able to use us ‘on demand’ and we have a pay-as-you-host’ option. Our monthly/ annual fee is all inclusive, covering all our services from the software licence itself to implementation and support costs.
With our overheads being low, we are able to invest more in Research and Development so we can keep enhancing the software in line with our current philosophy and focus on customer self-service and ease of adoption. This is where the future lies and with our current framework we are in the perfect position to move with the times and stay ahead.

Market Dojo as a fifteen year old would be a completely different creature.

We would either operate as an on-premise model or with a very simplistic SaaS structure that still encompassed elements of on-premise such as support and implementation fees, long-term contracts etc. We would most likely have been swallowed up by a large provider and have a huge consultancy arm with a myriad of offices across the globe to support local implementation..
There would be a need to protect the complexity of the model. Failing that, we would have to invest heavily in completely reshaping the structure of the product to be more ‘online’ and similar to what we have today.  These could easily create large divisions within the company as you see with some companies today in splitting development resource between On Premise and SaaS teams.

The Market Dojo of today would be what a 15 year old Market Dojo would ultimately inspire to be: a new and improved version of itself. The initial concerns when developing Market Dojo in 2000 would have caused many complications for us today, and we would be unrecognisable in comparison with today’s model.

The potential ten years of market experience may have been detrimental to us today with regards to the opportunities that we were presented with when starting out in 2010. (Thank goodness for good timing! (?))

However, there are obvious disadvantages in starting when we did, namely that we need to enter a market where there are already some big players with an established customer base of large multi-nationals.  Although as we focus on adoption with a different price point, there is a whole new layer of medium-sized companies open to us.  This is a very similar strategy to how Google entered the application space by focusing on business applications for the small and medium sized companies where Microsoft failed to capitalise. And, as mentioned already, the larger companies are also able to look at Best of Breed.  With the separate artistic nature of eSourcing, this sometimes can work very well alongside the larger ERP applications.

The next part of this series will investigate what the future of Market Dojo will hold. How can we use the benefit of looking back at the drivers of the technological movements of the past and apply these to potential future changes.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

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