SaaS Includes Consulting

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A prospective customer and I were discussing their current digital asset management vendor and DAM solution evaluation processes and how those have changed with the recent economic climate.  They pointed to a previous software implementation they had gone through two years prior as a scenario that was one to learn from.  During the evaluation process they had brought in a major consulting firm to help pinpoint their requirements, prepare a formal and lengthy RFP, evaluate responses, and prepare a risk assessment and so on.  They ended up selecting a licensed software solution that cost them a couple hundred thousand dollars after the dust settled.  That included the cost for the solution they purchased as well as the licenses for all of the required hardware and software needed to get it up and running.  They also had to account for ongoing annual maintenance, training and implementation fees.  What was surprising to me was that nearly a quarter of the cost was for the consultants. 

They were never presented with a hosted option though some ASP providers were on the list of early vendors to look at.  He couldn’t immediately recall why none of them were ever included on the list of vendors to receive the RFP though.  I asked him if the consultant was involved in the implementation process at all and he confirmed that they had been.  We got to talking about how DAM SaaS solutions provide the consulting and change management services as part of the package.  Hosted solutions are designed to eliminate most of the heavy lifting and costs associated with licensed software implementations.  Hosted providers typically bundle all of the costs into a single subscription fee of some kind, have fast and easy implementations and because they are working with their own software can make changes, configurations and even customizations fairly easily.
Consultants have a right to say that they save the customer countless thousands by ensuring they get a software solution to exactly match their requirements.  They can make a case about hidden costs for hosted solutions and how many customers have no idea how their own businesses are even run and require a steady hand to figure it out.  The prospect I was talking to was implementing another digital asset management system the first go around.  This is in fact why we were speaking in the first place.  They were in the market to replace the solution they had previously purchased with something that will work for them.  The solution they originally chose is still not implemented and is only supporting a handful of administrative users at present, though they planned a rollout to thousands of people.  This time around, they have decided to forego a formal evaluation process and speak directly to the vendors.    

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