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The State of SaaS Amid Covid-19

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The-State-of-SaaS-Amid-Covid-19

It’s no surprise to those familiar with Cloud computing; it has saved all of our butts. After all, what would we have done once the shelter-in-place order was issued if companies were still using email for collaboration and Microsoft office documents.

Imagine a world with no Zoom, no real-time document collaboration, no cloud-based storage. 

Statistically speaking, the 2-hours of daily productivity that we typically achieve in office could have easily decreased to 2-hours a week without cloud-based solutions to fall back on, and from a business perspective that is a very scary thought. 

As you can see below, it’s no wonder Zoom’s stock has shot straight up, even compared with other SaaS companies. 

zoom-stock

And as such, other tools like Slack and Atlassian have seen strong market indicators, not to mention the obvious ones like Amazon, GrubHub, Instacart, and DoorDash. 

The New Norm

But this Bull Market SaaS bubble for these types of online collaboration software will not last forever. In a matter of months, we will all be rolling that proverbial rock away from our doors, smelling the fresh air, and wondering to ourselves, “Ok, now what?”

What is now ‘the new norm’ for many local businesses will become their status quo. For instance, my local board game shop, out of necessity, is now an eCommerce store. The tap house down the road takes text orders for growler refills. Don’t expect these new business delivery models to go away after quarantine. No. They will offer companies an additional revenue stream once their brick and mortar is back up and running. 

With new usage comes new needs, new problems to solve and new software ideas, such as security, load-balancing, and other infrastructure. After all, hasn’t this crisis exacerbated the need for cloud-based solutions? 

Mehdi Salour, senior vice president of network operations and devOps at 8×8, said:

“the number of new users for the 8×8 Video Meetings cloud service in February increased close to 100 percent month over month, with the total number of new users in 2020 already reaching more than double the amount since they launched.” (Source)

You might say that even consumers have come to expect these new forms of digital accommodation and thus will be even more open to hiring SaaS solutions in the coming months and years in place of traditional transactions. Thus we expect a huge surge in online software sales post Covid-19 across a variety of industries and use-cases. 

Are You Ready for the Covid-19 Aftermath?

This is no joke. VC money is all but dried up for some. Large purchases have been put on hold until “the coast is clear”. We, at Inturact, have had leads delay the decision to sign with us until they were more sure of the markets and we’ve had current clients downgrade temporarily to preserve their runway. Sadly, we even had a client lose all of their promised VC cash infusion and in one day went from Growth to Survival. 

But this will not last forever. Sure, Covid-19 is leaving plenty of long-lasting economic damage in its wake, but at some point, it will be back to business as usual. And when that happens, your competition will be hitting the streets hard. With the cost of advertising down to an all-time low (as of writing this, a single YouTube view is only $.10!) you better start looking past the work-at-home productivity issues and start planning for life after Covid-19 has passed. 

What Can We Expect?

In early December last year (2019), a 17-year old “thought it would be cool if there was a website that could pull in all the information from all kinds of (sources),” (source) and so built a site that aggregates all the Covid-19 data from around the world into a clean and elegant display. You can see his work here, Covid Data Map. Self-taught, he built something that interested him, and four months later, his traffic is through the roof. 

covid-mapIf that’s the growth going into the Pandemic, what will the growth line look like going out of it? Consider his moment of fame is as long-lived as this pandemic is.

organic-and-paid-search

Let’s just lay it out there.

We don’t know what happens after Covid but businesses should take a longer view and should not rely on pandemic news for sustained operations. 

However, if you are seeing a bump, then try to retain as much of that bump as you can for as long as you can.

If you are getting hit right now, then most of your competitors are too, and if you have the means to push through you have an opening to get ahead of the competition like you have never had before.

Starting now, SaaS companies need to look past quarantine and develop a plan for re-entering the market place that takes advantage of, but is not exploitative of, the devastation of this virus. 

Your Existing Customers are now More Important than Ever Before

The reason why investors love SaaS businesses is not that they’re great at acquiring new customers; it’s because they have access to data, unlike most businesses, that help them be great at keeping customers. 

And as we’re sure you’ve heard, it’s astronomically cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to get a new one. As Gainsight noted,

“Obtaining a new customer can be anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than selling to existing customers” (source).

This is why it’s important to make sure you have clear metrics regarding business retention:

  • Is your churn being tracked? 
  • Do you have exit interviews? 
  • Can you take steps to surprise and delight customers to increase brand loyalty? 

Increasing Retention via Tracking Your Customer Engagement Churn Rate

A huge part of retention is truly understanding customer engagement and how to identify growth opportunities from tracking it. One aspect of this is knowing your customer engagement churn rate. Most companies track customer (logo) churn and revenue churn, however, they don’t track customer engagement churn. 

What is Customer Engagement Churn?

To answer this, we must first understand customer engagement. Every SaaS product has a set of events or actions that a customer takes within their product that are the most important actions. We call these Actionable Metrics, learn more about these here.

Defining and tracking these actions, in particular retention metrics, are vital in understanding how engaged each of your customers are with your product. To learn more about defining your actionable metrics, check out this video on tracking the metrics that matter most for your SaaS business.

Once you agree on your actionable retention metrics and they are being tracked, you can now know the moment a customer’s usage of these mission critical events drop. At this point you have what we define as Customer Engagement Churn. 

Oftentimes this indicator happens months before a customer even considers cancelling their account. 

Just imagine what you can do with this data!

By proactively addressing engagement churn through properly defining and tracking your actionable retention metrics, also known as customer engagement analytics, you can put in place strategic marketing and customer success tactics to address customer concerns before they churn, thus increasing retention and even potentially opening the door for additional expansion revenue.

Get help defining your companies Actionable Metrics

Bandwidth Preservation and Alternative Forms of Distribution

According to ZDNet,

“Traffic prioritization and shaping need to be put in place for core business applications during prime hours, which includes video conferencing for business and personal use. This would effectively be the opposite of net neutrality, as an emergency measure.” (Source)

New software is going to have to use less memory and optimize for processing power and bandwidth. Since the pandemic, every conference call we’ve experienced has been interrupted by poor bandwidth whether that’s in ISP themselves or our kids watching Netflix on three different devices in our house. Note: Netflix is actually throttling video quality in Europe because of this. 

Previously the game was to use as much bandwidth as possible without sacrificing user experience. Now, consumer expectations are, “Let’s just get the job done without crashing.”

As such, any innovations around Infrastructure, cloud computing, CDN or load balancing are going to become important post Covid-19. 

Business Productivity: Moving Away from Mobile Computing

Since there is far less commuting and certainly there will be more people working from home after this, making sure your app works just as well on mobile devices is less important. 

Personally, I don’t have a commute, so I don’t listen to podcasts very much as I’m not stuck in traffic and I no longer need to rely on my phone for Slack when out and about since I’m now never more than 5 steps from my laptop. 

Thinking forward, there may be a bit of a transition back to desktop. You may look at focusing less on your mobile experience for a bit and more on making sure your desktop experience is as compatible as possible. There are a lot of people now working from home on their old laptops with old operating systems. 

New Privacy and Security Concerns 

When everyone is at home, there’s not much need for apps that track your location, nor is there as much concern about the security of that private information. There are no traffic jams to avoid, and there are no teenagers to track down (You hope!). 

New systems are already getting developed to optimize the movement of goods and services to you, rather than the other way around. So the question is no longer, “Can I get there in time” but rather, “How long until my stuff arrives.” In Rhode Island, for example, there is currently (at the time of this writing), a three-week wait to get your groceries delivered. (Source

My wife works in healthcare administration. She goes to the office everyday, wears a mask at her desk and goes through temperature checks to enter the building. This is great in theory, but since she’s not patient-facing, why can’t she work from home? 

Five letters: HIPPA. There’s no way to ensure that a home-station would not be compromised by the snooping eyes of her husband. 

Patient health data is sacred and fines for breaking HIPPA are extreme but ultimately unenforceable when removed from a clinical setting. Other sensitive industries are similarly afflicted, where the health and safety of the worker comes second to the security policies currently enforced. 

What’s happening with face recognition and digital identity right now that could solve this? 

To make matters even more complicated, companies that are thriving now, like Zoom, are coming under increased scrutiny with regards to how they are protecting user data. As we know, unless you’ve been under a rock, Zoom is being sued for just this violation. With more people buying things online, that data is massive and potentially very valuable, however, if not secured, could become a source of fraud and other security issues. 

zoom-meetingOne final and dangerous word about security… Now, more than ever before, misinformation is dangerous and life-threatening. When my mom had a Covid-19 scare and was showing symptoms, she said, “Oh I’ll drink some hot water. Hot water kills the virus.” She read this online and was literally about to put her life in the hands of a bogus fake-news post. In the end, she luckily tested negative, but it makes you think of all the thousands of people who may have believed this claim. 

Some Domain Name services are taking a leadership role in removing websites promoting non-scientific news about the virus. And on this topic, Facebook has remained alarmingly quiet. 

Have we finally come to understand that there actually is a reality and truth can’t be made up? 

What software services can come into play to solve this problem?

Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline

Restaurants and food distribution companies are reshuffling how they reach customers.  Food-prep, online food shopping and delivery are all being reimagined. Delivery is going to take precedence more than ever and companies need to work with their carriers more closely to ensure a good customer experience. 

“With as many as 75% of all restaurants having to close due to economic losses incurred from the Covid-19 crisis, it may be necessary or more efficient to have a centralized or a consolidated distribution of food and other goods in major population centers.” (Source

Using Data to Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

What data do you need in order to make the best marketing decisions for your business? 

We’ve made some market projections here, which we hope are helpful, but when it comes to getting your SaaS business back on its feet, you’ll need to make sure you are making data-backed decisions. Otherwise, you run the risk of making emotional decisions or decisions based on an out-dated pre-pandemic paradigm. 

Here is a basic breakdown of the most important areas to consider to give you a head start:

Define the Most Important Metrics to Track

Start by determining the most important metrics to track for your particular business and you will set the building blocks to having total team alignment. Again, have a look at our Actionable Metrics framework to kick this off. 

Assign Team Responsibility

Take team alignment one step further with deeper accountability. Determine the teams (Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, etc.) responsible for growing each metric as well as an individual owner responsible for determining if the metric is on track or not. Build a Team Scorecard to review on your weekly or monthly team calls. 

Here is a free Team Scorecard template to get you started.

team-scorecard

Understand the 3 Vital Types of Tracking

At Inturact we breakdown tracking into 3 primary areas: 

Accountability Tracking

We just discussed what we call Accountability Tracking. Holding your team accountable for growing the actionable metrics

Dashboard Tracking

This is the most common type of tracking everyone already knows. These are dashboards built with BI Tools or Excel sheets that keep a high-level pulse on your business. Generally, if someone discovers a downward trend in a metric or new issue within a dashboard they try to determine a test or opportunity. However, we suggest taking this one step further with Opportunity Tracking. You can find high level opportunities within Dashboard Tracking but to determine a true test you need to dig deeper into the data.

Opportunity Tracking

This is where you work to discover deep insights within your user analytics to pinpoint the highest opportunities for growth and work to resolve issues faster. Most companies put this task on their data scientist. However, we suggest checking out a tool called InnerTrends which puts the power of a data scientist into a product manager’s hands without having to be one!

We will be writing a more detailed article on this soon. In the meantime learn more about these types of tracking by scheduling a SaaS consultation with an Inturact growth expert.

Determine the Right SaaS Metrics to Track & Revenue Goals

What other important SaaS metrics do we need to track that will help us identify how the business is growing? For example, we need a channel CAC goal in order to make sure our marketing channels are producing, the unit economics are making sense and we are growing in a healthy way.

Important example metrics that we will need include but are not limited to:

  1. Revenue Goal
  2. CAC (Overall and by Channel)
  3. Churn
  4. LTV
  5. LTV:CAC Ratio

Finally, determine the best strategies to grow.

What strategies make the most sense to grow your product based on all of the data research we have done so far?

At Inturact, we breakdown our focus areas from the top down starting with what we call our Growth Pillars which align with the customer journey like this:

growth-pillar-and-customer-journey

We suggest paying close attention to the metrics and strategies surrounding Activation, Retention and Referral in the coming months as:

  • Churn increases
  • Revenue decreases
  • Burn rate increases and runway becomes a bigger focus

For help in any of these areas in order to get ahead during this pandemic as well as afterwards we would love to chat about how we can help. 

Schedule a call with a growth expert to talk about how Covid has affected your business and how Inturact can help. 

Talk with a Growth Expert


References:

https://asiatimes.com/2020/04/pandemic-opens-curtains-on-next-economic-model/ 

https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/23/stocks-broadly-fall-as-nasdaq-dips-modestly-saas-gains-on-the-day/

https://www.ptc.com/en/product-lifecycle-report/how-saas-ar-technologies-help-business-weather-covid-19-impact-operations

https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/software-as-a-service-saas-market-analysis-by-industry-size-share-revenue-growth-development-and-demand-forecast-to-2025-2019-08-23

https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-future-of-the-technology-industry-after-covid-19/

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/cloud-and-saas-providers-prepare-for-increased-demand-as-millions-telecommute-due-to-covid-19-fears/

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4332955-case-for-cloud-saas-amid-market-turmoil

Source: https://www.inturact.com/blog/the-state-of-saas-amid-covid-19

Blockchain

Indian Olympic Medal Winners to Get Free Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)

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The cryptocurrency platform Bitbns intends to open a systematic investment plan (SIP) in digital assets for Indian athletes who win medals at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. The exchange will reportedly grant around $2,700 in crypto for gold medal winners.

‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ And Earn Crypto

The Economic Times reported that Indian athletes at the Olympic Games could receive cryptocurrencies as a gift if they manage to win a medal at the tournament in Tokyo.

The trading venue that will reportedly provide the offer is Bitbns. The first athletes that can get cryptocurrency exposure for free are the winners Mirabai Chanu and PV Sindhu. The former won a silver medal in 49 kg women’s weightlifting while the latter acquired bronze in the women’s singles badminton at the Tokyo Olympics.

Bitbns plans to roll out a SIP account and grant nearly $2,700 in digital assets for Olympic champions, $1,350 for silver medal winners, and $675 for bronze medalists. It will transfer the amount into their accounts, and after completing the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, the athletes will have exposure to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

The trading venue explained that it would structure the SIP for a 3-5 year period, and thus the medal winners will be able to generate profits in the long term through Bitbns. Gaurav Dahake – the Chief Executive Officer at the platform – noted:


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“Bitcoin and Ethereum have been the best-performing assets in the last decade, and have given exceptional returns and we aim to get our winners indulge in this rewarding journey.”

Indians Love Cryptocurrencies

According to a recent research, Indian residents increased their digital asset investments from $200 million in 2020 to $40 billion for the first six months of this year, indicating that their appetite for cryptocurrencies surged significantly.

What is even more impressive is that Indians, who are well-known gold admirers, started switching their investment strategies from the precious metal to virtual currencies. A local investor explained:

“I would rather put my money in crypto than gold. Crypto is more transparent than gold or assets and yields higher returns in a shorter period of time.”

The survey added that the number of people who trade cryptocurrencies in India is 15 million. It significantly surpasses a well-developed country such as the UK, for example, where 2.3 million individuals have entered the market. Sandeep Goenka – the co-founder of the platform ZebPay – revealed the reasons why the second-most populated country saw this massive increase:

“They find it easier to invest in crypto than gold because the process is so much simpler. You go online, you can buy crypto, you don’t have to verify it, unlike gold.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/indian-olympic-medal-winners-to-get-free-bitcoin-btc-and-ethereum-eth/

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Coinbase halts Bitcoin SV trading after yet another 51% attack

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Bitcoin SV is in trouble once again after Coinbase announced that it will be halting BSV trading on the platform. This update came on the back of a string of attacks the network has been facing since late June. As per the announcement made by the exchange,

“Due to the 51% attack that has occurred on BSV today we are stopping all BSV trading.”

Bitcoin SV was the target of a massive 51% attack early on Tuesday, an attack which was called “the largest since launch” by Blockchair developer Nikita Zhavoronkov. He further claimed on Twitter that the reorganization was 100 blocks deep and wiped out 570k transactions.

The attack was first brought to the community’s notice by CoinMetrics’ Lucas Nuzzi. Arguing that “some serious hashing power” was unleashed on the network early on Tuesday, he revealed that up to three versions of the chain were being mined simultaneously across pools.

Coinmetrics later confirmed that the firm’s own blockchain security monitoring tool FARUM identified the attack.

The Bitcoin Association also confirmed the incident on Twitter, recommending node operators to mark the fraudulent chain as invalid. It’s worth noting, however, that at the time of writing, the Association had released yet another statement on the same.

It said,

“…. believes that this is the same attacker that previously initiated block re-organisation attacks against the BSV network on June 24 and July 1, 6 & 9, 2021.”

Coinbase’s action made waves in the community. However, such steps are perhaps routine for the network now. In the past, BSV has been dropped by top exchanges like Gemini and Binance. It also saw several exchanges block withdrawals and deposits for the asset as liquidity providers suspended access to the token’s liquidity. This was preceded by more attacks in the last week of June and the first week of July.

As far as Coinbase is concerned, the exchange is yet to reveal when it might restart trading services for Bitcoin SV. With many in the community at sixes and sevens, it’s unlikely it’s going to be anytime soon.

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/coinbase-halts-bitcoin-sv-trading-after-yet-another-51-attack

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Looking To Pull An El Salvador, Spain Considers Bill To Allow Mortgage Payments In Crypto

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Looking To Pull An El Salvador, Spain Considers Bill To Allow Mortgage Payments In Crypto

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Cryptocurrency and blockchain are becoming quite mainstream as of this year and it’s likely that just about any financial transaction will be able to be completed via the use of crypto in the next few years. Of course, there are bodies pushing against the integration given the lack of regulations and the fact that it could help finance illicit acts.

However, the crypto wave is continuing to grow despite all of the recent adversity. And, according to Spanish paper 20 Minutos, Spain could begin to allow persons to pay their mortgages with crypto pretty soon.

The publication reports that Spanish lawmakers are perusing a proposal that would see to the above. The Digital transformation Law, as it’s called, would make it so that crypto and blockchain become legitimized, while tax incentives are being considered for institutions keen on working under the artificial intelligence umbrella, which would include blockchain tech.

Spain’s incumbent People’s Party is intent on having the country’s banking infrastructure catch up to the times in terms of tech and will promote the use of digital currencies, as well as various other transformative technologies. The proposal suggests that the country’s whole mortgage system should undergo reform, in addition to having crypto payments possible.

El Salvador Took The Lead

This comes on the back of El Salvador’s move to accept bitcoin as legal tender. The Central American nation is very pro-crypto in such regard and it appears they have set the stage for other countries to naturalize digital assets, so to speak.

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Where Spain is concerned, the current proposal advises that banks use blockchain as a means of operating the mortgage system while making use of smart contracts for insurance.

“Introduction into the mortgage system – it also proposes that banks use Blockchain technology to manage mortgages, insurance and speed up compensation – it proposes to extend it to insurance policies, with ‘smart contracts’ with conditions depending on the procedures to be followed, the verification processes and potential incidents.“

El Salvador making bitcoin legal tender was a huge move and we aren’t yet to see the full scope, although the country’s population stands at just 6.5 million so they aren’t expected to have that great of an impact on a worldwide scale. Spain is a different case, however.

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Source: https://zycrypto.com/looking-to-pull-an-el-salvador-spain-considers-bill-to-allow-mortgage-payments-in-crypto/

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