“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” – Lord Kelvin
This article is a comprehensive and detailed look at the key metrics that are
needed to understand and optimize a SaaS business. It is a completely updated
rewrite of an older post. For this version, I have co-opted two real
experts in the field: Ron Gill, (CFO, NetSuite), and Brad Coffey (VP of
Strategy, HubSpot), to add expertise, color and commentary from the viewpoint
of a public and private SaaS company. My sincere thanks to both of them for
their time and input.
SaaS/subscription businesses are more complex than traditional businesses.
Traditional business metrics totally fail to capture the key factors that
drive SaaS performance. In the SaaS world, there are a few key variables that
make a big difference to future results. This post is aimed at helping SaaS
executives understand which variables... (more)
2014 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey – Part 1
For the third year in a row, we worked together with Pacific Crest
Securities, an investment banking firm with a specific focus on SaaS, to
survey 306 SaaS companies.
This represents nearly double the # of respondents from last year, giving us
deeper benchmarking data and insights to share on the growth and operations
of the companies in this space.
We also welcome this year the participation of OpenView, an expansion stage
venture capital firm specializing in B2B Software, who brought additional
I want to extend my personal than... (more)
Portals, e-commerce sites, B2B commerce and so on...we're witnessing
unprecedented demand for e-business solutions of every stripe as companies
rush to put their businesses on the Web. With Y2K now out of the way, this
has become the top IT priority.
In the past many of these solutions have been built on top of IRM (Internet
Relationship Management) products such as Vignette and BroadVision whose
primary specialization has been content management and personalization. For
early Web sites, mostly serving up static content, this was sufficient. But
once the basic site is up and run... (more)
Earlier this year I wrote an article describing how Enterprise JavaBeans had
impacted the application server market, causing a convergence between Web
application servers and distributed object and transaction servers. With the
advent of the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) standard, we're about to
witness another seismic shift in this market.
It's worth looking at what J2EE is - and isn't. J2EE builds on the Java 2
standard, and adds specifications for most of the important programming
interfaces in an application server. Key interfaces are EJB for middle-tier
logic, and servle... (more)
In the many thousands of articles advising entrepreneurs on what they have to
focus on to build successful startups, much has been written about three key
factors: team, product and market, with particular focus on the importance of
product/market fit. Failure to get product/market fit right is very likely
the number 1 cause of startup failure. However in all these articles, I have
not seen any discussion about what I believe is the second biggest cause of
startup failure: the cost of acquiring customers turns out to be higher than
expected, and exceeds the ability to monetize th... (more)