Monday, May 21, 2012

Millions of Clicks cannot be wrong, yet why 90% abandon OSS

In Steve Blank's Four Steps to the Epiphany he describes the Four Steps as Customer Discovery, Customer Validation, Customer Creation and Company Building.  In a recent article in Gigaom on startups, big execution & Steve Jobs, he says

Startups are not smaller versions of big companies, so don’t try to be like them
Startups are about searching for a business model, not executing a business plan

Here are some facts about what we see as O4BO Customers.

Millions of people have downloaded Open Source Software (OSS) for ERP, CRM, BI / Analytics and Portals.  The actual numbers total in the tens of millions, so at least adequate interest to warrant downloading some pretty big files and some very complex software to install and maintain.

Of those OSS Downloads it is estimated (no way to accurately track it) that as many as 90% do not go into production for the companies that downloaded them, aka "Abandonment."

Of those 90% it is also estimated that around 50% were abandoned because the software was too hard to install and maintain, especially for the non technical SME.  The rest have various reasons including:  Doesn't quite meet our needs; Too costly to run in house; No IT support; Too distracting from our Core Business, etc.

 We believe our customers will come from the 90% of the millions that downloaded OSS ERP, CRM, BI / Analytics or Portals but abandoned them for any of the reasons stated above.  

We address the biggest reason, that it is harder than expected by making it as easy as possible, just sign up and start using.  Nothing to install, we do the maintenance and we charge less than 50% of any SaaS provider with a proprietary solution and even less than just the cost of hosting it yourself.

We address the other reasons, too.  "Doesn't quite meet our needs" is addressed with low cost customization of your solution, and with our tools and partners we believe we can address this need head on in a cost effective way.  All the other reasons, listed or not will be addressed, that's our challenge as we search for the right business model to meet our discovered and validated customer's needs.

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