Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The A-La-Carte Service Model

When YatinBoots started out, PJAD IT at the time, the prevalence of cloud-based services were not available. “Cloud”, still related to the weather. You bought an application (service) from a vendor, and installed it on your on-premise machine. Mobility and readily accessible services entailed taking a laptop around with you. As we find our footing, streamline offerings, and hone our target markets; YatinBoots is an experienced participant in the rise of the a-la-carte service model prevalent today.

Services first explored included: Invoicing and Billing systems, then Help Desk portals. We then wanted Accounting, Time Tracking, Project Management, and Schedule Management systems. Needless to say, we have spent hours on hours trying out new services; integrating and ripping components out.

The a-la-carte service model, initially is great because you pay for “only what you want”. Correction, you pay for mostly what you want; services may have overlapping functionalities. And for the most parts, that would be doable. Then you start to look at the cost; $29.99/month here, $15.00/user/month there, $59.00/month up to 5 users... The cost starts to add up; cost slowly inches its way up compare to a big price tag up front like traditional on-premise/ fully customized solutions. Additionally, integration is also piecemeal across these services. Yeah, I know there are a number of cloud-based integration services available, but those come with a price tag as well and not all encompassing.

Being able to add services as you go puts the customer into the driver seat. However, adding services in an ad-hoc fashion leads to services with overlapping features, loss of productivity, frustration and confusion, detracts from the business of running the business, miss requirements, etc. In summary, ad-hoc addition of services is costly in time, resources, and actual dollars – all impacting the bottom line.

On the other hand, the addition of services should be part of an overall technology strategy; a technology maturity roadmap. Instead of continually adding and removing services to potentially address a hot need; YatinBoots took a step back and build requirements off of our business plan. Based on these requirements and our vision for how we will interact and support our customers, we developed a roadmap for services. For each service need, we defined required integrations with other service components and nice to haves. For instance, our Help Desk service portal is central to what we do, also Accounting, and CRM. The development of an a-la-carte service model strategy will guide your organization in adopting and incorporating services into the business operations.


Things to consider as you explore service offerings:
  1. Look for services with open trial periods that do not force sign-up or commitment up front (we will have an upcoming post on Freemium); 
  2. Try services when you actually have time and resources to use the selected service(s) as part of normal operations; 
  3. Services that are focused and narrow in scope versus trying to do a lot; 
  4. Services that support open platforms and APIs; and 
  5. Services with customers within your industry. It is OK to be a trailblazer from time to time; but the service(s) really has to work for your business and not your business bending to accommodate the use of the service(s).

Shameless Self Promotion
At YatinBoots Corp., connectivity, is our sole priority. We work with freelancers, entrepreneurs, and owners to devise technology-based, customer-driven solutions that put the focus back on their customer instead of operations.

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