NL #23: tools for product managers, Software-Defined Data Center and SaaS based call centers

SaaS Weekly Newsletter - 17 June 2015 edition

Concept of this newsletter: every week I alternate between an industry news focused email and a product focused email. This week: Products. Past editions are available here.

Tools for product managers

As the number of subscription based businesses / SaaS is exploding we’re seeing more and more tools helping them build better products and retain users (SaaS for SaaS). I’ve created a mindmap listing tools dedicated to product managers. Here are 4 of them (click on the mindmap to see more):

  • LaunchDarkly: feature testing. “LaunchDarkly gives product managers total control of their features: Turn features on and off for who you want, roll out new features to percentages of your population, measure the impact of your features ”
  • Amplitude analytics “retention, funnels, user cohorts”
  • Appcues smart user onboarding “Create personalized user onboarding flows without changing any code that will improve your product's adoption and retention rates.”
  • web engage user survey “Collect feedback, gather customer insights using hyper targeted Surveys”

Software Defined Data Center

“A software-defined data center (SDDC) is a data storage facility in which all elements of the infrastructure -- networking, storage, CPU and security – are virtualized and delivered as a service. Deployment, provisioning, configuration and operation of the entire infrastructure is abstracted from hardware and implemented through software.” (Google)

With the virtualization of the whole datacenter stack, the needs in terms of software are exploding and the SDDC market is expected to grow from $21B in 2015 to $77B in 2020.

  • Mesosphere: “Put your datacenter on autopilot. The OS for your datacenter.”
  • Coolan: “Coolan is a data-driven, community-based software platform that provides actionable insights about how your data center environment is performing”

For those interested in the topic you can listen to this A16Z podcast.

Cloud based call center

Cloud based call centers belong to these software verticals where you have the impression that you’ve already seen tens of startups promising to disrupt old traditional players with a SaaS solution but which fail to do so. And when you take a closer look at the numbers it seems that it’s going through a “normal” transition rather than a real disruption:

“In 2008, only 2.2% of all call center seats were in the cloud. This number increased slowly to 2.7% in 2009, and grew to 3.5% by the end of 2010. By the end of 2011, 5.9% of all contact center seats were in the cloud and as of August 2013, the adoption rate for the market was 7.3% and is expected to grow to 15.6% in 2016”

The transition from “on-premise” to “SaaS” won’t look the same for every software vertical: transition speed, competitive landscape, user adoption… And maybe the call center one won’t have its Slack or its Zenefits. Here are 2 startups which recently raised money in this space:

  • Leaddesk: “Turnkey software solution for call centers and telesales agents. Pay as you go, no investments required.” (raised €5.5M earlier this year)
  • TalkDesk: “Create a Call Center in 5 Minutes” (raised $15M this month)
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