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Facebook as a SaaS

As an IBM employee for decades, I sold hardware, software and services to Fortune 500 businesses that solved business problems. Most of my colleagues preferred the term “issue” or “concern” or “objective”. I always preferred “problem”. As a computer scientist and mathematician, a problem does not carry the same negative sentiment it does in business.

I get it! No one wants to be told, “You have a problem.” However, I quickly realized none of my prospective customers took any action until the pain level of that problem (that none want to call a problem) exceeded the procrastination threshold. To this very date at my wise old age, the single most important lesson IBM taught me is simply this:

People buy solutions to problems when the pain associated with that problem exceeds their procrastination threshold.

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In my world, most solutions to a business problem came in the form of software functionality. The majority of my career was spent solving supply chain problems. I did so by helping my prospective customers find the “application software package”. I did not charge you a penny to help you choose the right application software provider. I’d spend months helping you pick one! No charge! Once you picked your software provider, you needed my hardware, system level software and implementation services to get your application software up and running. Only once the software was up and running did you reap the benefit of the solution. Many never got to the end. Searching, Selecting, Buying, Installing, Implementing and Maintaining software solutions can be daunting!   

When you hear the term “The Cloud” it simply means you no longer need to install my hardware and system software because you no longer need to install the application software package (which has the software functionality you need to solve your problem) on your “premise”. Today, businesses large and small simply “subscribe” to the functionality they need “in the cloud”. 

For example, if your problem is long and expensive new product introduction (NPI) cycles due to poorly managed supplier collaborations, you might choose to implement Oracle’s Supplier Qualification Management software.

Option A: License the software and install it on your premise.

Option B: License the software as a service from the cloud.

Option C: Invite your suppliers to a secret group on Facebook.

At first glance, Option C does not fit. It will be immediately rejected by pragmatic information technology professionals, design engineers, manufacturing engineers, procurement professionals and the supplier community. However, Option C will indeed solve the problem faster, better and cheaper than the other two options. If the problem was supplier part number reconciliation in the demand planning module then Option C is not even on the table. It is not a valid solution alternative for supplier part number reconciliation at the millisecond number crunching level. However, it cannot be ignored as a valid solution alternative for qualifying new supplier bill of material components into a new product introduction. It is the best solution of all the solution alternatives. It is rarely chosen based on preconceived notions and closed minded job protectionism.

Why is Facebook the best solution alternative?

I’m glad you asked. Here are the top three reasons why Facebook is the best solution for supplier qualification management:

  1. Time to Benefit: Once the pain level of long and expensive design cycles exceeds the organization’s procrastination threshold, the time it takes to “onboard” thousands of suppliers and experience significantly lower costs and shorter cycle times is a fraction of the time it takes option A or B.
  2. Willingness to Participate: Facebook is somewhat controversial for inducing dopamine surges. Keep in mind 1 in 10 Facebookers are legitimately addicted to the software. How many people do you know that are addicted to Oracle’s Supplier Collaboration software? None! If rolled out correctly, 1,000s of supplier engineers will participate in your Facebook secret group with a natural sense of excitement and authentic willingness. 
  3. Adaptability to Rapid Change: Most CRM, SCM, PLM that achieve noticeable results in the early phases of implementation fail later as significant and rapid changes to business practices, mergers and acquisitions and personnel changes hinder the classic software solution from adapting. 

In October 2016, Facebook started adding new “application software” functionality and I had a eureka moment! Facebook is the LOWEST COST SaaS Solution Provider for a wide range of business problems. I can solve multi-million dollar CRM, SCM, PLM, ERP, BPM problems using Facebook for a fraction of the cost.

Facebook, Inc. is YOUR highly reliable public cloud software as a service provider that is easy to implement and is an order of magnitude less expensive than its traditional rivals.

Manager Touching ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING

Written by John Rector

John Rector is the President at Social Media Target, LLC. He is the co-founder of E2OPEN. His original works (videos, images and blog posts) are seen by millions of social media users daily. At IBM, he implemented Supply Chain Management (SCM) solutions at the top 50 electronics companies in Asia, The Americas and Europe. He is the winner of six Golden Circles.

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