By Jon Christofaris, Sr. Practice Lead, AWS SaaS Factory
The AWS SaaS Factory program was launched at re:Invent in 2017, and provides AWS Partners with resources, guidance, and expertise to accelerate and optimize their software-as-a-service (SaaS) launches on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Since SaaS Factory’s inception, we have worked with hundreds of software providers to support the development and launch of new SaaS solutions on AWS.
The team recently had the opportunity to work with BMC Software, an AWS Advanced Technology Partner, to support the launch of their new “application workflow orchestration as a service” platform: BMC Helix Control-M. This solution allows customers to simplify application and data workflow complexity in production through a single end-to-end view with interfaces for developers, IT operations, and business users.
The SaaS Factory team spoke with Tim Eusterman, Sr. Director of Solutions Marketing for the Digital Business Automation product line at BMC, to learn more about the value BMC Helix Control-M brings to customers.
We asked Tim to share advice for other software providers, especially those who may be facing similar challenges with enterprise-scale transformation to SaaS deployment models.
Q&A with BMC
SaaS Factory: Could you share a bit about your background and role at BMC?
Tim Eusterman: I lead marketing for the Digital Business Automation business unit at BMC. My background is over 25 years of B2B technology marketing, market development, and sales management in enterprise and supply chain logistics automation solutions companies.
SaaS Factory: Can you tell us a bit about the history of your on-premises solution?
Tim Eusterman: Our primary offer is Control-M, an industry leading on-premises application and data workflow orchestration product. Because Control-M has been around for over 25 years, it has seen and supported many evolutions in the market. Historically, it was known as a “job scheduler,” and then as “workload automation” solution in the WLA category, and most recently as what Gartner is calling a “Service Orchestration and Automation Platforms,” or SOAPs.
SaaS Factory: Who are your customers?
Tim Eusterman: They are the who’s who of the global 5,000 companies. They are mainly large and complex businesses that operate in regulated industries. These industries include financial services (banking, insurance, and brokerage/investments), retail/wholesale, telecom, and utilities. We also have a sizable business in federal/state government and transportation and logistics.
SaaS Factory: What were your primary business motivations for moving to a SaaS deployment model?
Tim Eusterman: Automation is a critical piece of BMC’s Autonomous Digital Enterprise vision. We have been watching the market for several years and working with some of our most innovative customers to determine when to provide Control-M as a SaaS offer. There are many factors that went into this decision.
One of the important objectives our customers asked us to help them with was to extend the value and capability of Control-M to the many teams in their companies working on digital transformation products and programs. Here is a quick summary of the customer benefits of BMC Helix Control-M:
- Federating IT – Providing decentralized dev and ops teams easy access for end-to-end automation and orchestration for their line of business digital products with governance, scalability, and security built in.
- Elevating IT – Accelerating the pace and scale of innovation with an application and data pipeline orchestration platform that becomes the digital business nervous system across the hybrid cloud.
- Liberating IT – To go fast in a 24×7, always-on world so that developers, IT operations, and business users can easily build, schedule, monitor, govern, and manage their business-critical application and data pipeline workflows with a user interface (UI) meaningful to each discipline.
SaaS Factory: What were some of the key technical challenges you encountered, while transforming to SaaS?
Tim Eusterman: Control-M is literally helping companies run their businesses; we have many customers that tell us this. So, when we decided to make a SaaS offering, it was mission critical that we maintained our extremely high product performance standards of security, reliability, resilience, and scalability in production that our customers rely on, while providing a world-class modern SaaS experience.
SaaS Factory: Did the guidance from AWS SaaS factory affect the business strategy you selected for your offering?
Tim Eusterman: We had a lot of our business strategy mapped out already. The SaaS Factory experience helped us clarify how to think about that strategy with a new perspective, and gave us several new framework ideas we pursued to help with strategy implementation.
One of the most helpful was the deep dive into the customer journey and how we needed to adapt our go-to-market (GTM) and customer success models accordingly. This kind of framing perspective also helped us to work through options and optimize the implementation of our NOC operation and management strategy.
SaaS Factory: How did you approach pricing and packaging for the new solution?
Tim Eusterman: We wanted to make our pricing transparent, easy to understand, and in-line with the general market expectations for a SaaS consumption model. To accommodate this, we created two pricing plans.
The first is called “Start” and you can quickly estimate what you will pay based on your needs with a handy tool provided on our website. The second plan is called “Scale” where we’ll engage our sales organization to customize a program that may include other services to help companies transition from their current vendors to BMC Helix Control-M easily.
SaaS Factory: How did you address the challenges of organizational transformation, during your journey to SaaS?
Tim Eusterman: One of the areas the SaaS Factory experience helped us to address was how to think about the customer journey. With over 30 years of delivering the leading on-premises solution in our category, we have developed great skill and understanding of our customers and their journey to success with Control-M.
However, what SaaS Factory helped us to do was really think about the entire customer journey from the SaaS perspective, how that’s different from our on-premises process, what customers would be expecting at each stage of the journey, and how we needed to modify our thinking and our processes to ensure we would create quick and sustaining value that met customer expectations.
SaaS Factory: In what ways did the AWS SaaS Factory support your team?
Tim Eusterman: We would break this out into two areas. First would be offer/business, and the second would be technical/dev related. For both categories, the team introduced some very helpful models we could apply to the unique and not so unique aspects of our business.
This helped us think through everything from how we wanted to set the business model up to ensure success, to helping us clarify our thinking on technical architecture and roadmap consideration.
Here are some topics that SaaS Factory helped us with in the offer/business area:
- SaaS product design standards
- Packaging and pricing
- Customer journey mapping
- SaaS buyer persona refinement
- Sales strategy and GTM best practices
- Organizational transformation
For the technical/dev area, here are some aspects that were very positively impacted:
- Architectural roadmap
- Validated MVP architecture
- AWS services to integrate
- Developed POCs, continuous reviews, and health-checks
- Agent registration and management process
- User registration, login flow, and notification with SES
- Business continuity plan, backup plan, and disaster recovery plan
- API token implementation/access
SaaS Factory: What were the key benefits you received from working with AWS SaaS Factory?
Tim Eusterman: One of the soft benefits we recognized immediately was simply having a session led by the SaaS Factory team. The process they ran gave us permission to challenge our conventional thinking, and use the multitude of best practices data and examples from industries they provided.
This tested our assumptions and we quickly recognized where we needed to prioritize our work, which proved so helpful that we ended up asking to do more sessions with the SaaS Factory team.
A few other benefits of working with the SaaS Factory team were:
- Cost savings – As part of our AWS architecture framework approach, we reviewed our solutions to optimized usage and the related costs.
- Business agility – We have adopted several of the models and used aspects of various approaches suggested; one example was the recommendation of the book “Blueprints for a SaaS Sales Organization” to help improve our overall processes.
- Operational resiliency – As part of our AWS architecture framework approach, we reviewed our solutions and operational plans.
- Staff productivity – The inputs we received on the technical topics and areas noted above saved us considerable time and effort in development.
SaaS Factory: Did working with AWS SaaS Factory help your team connect with other partners or internal teams? Did this have a positive impact on your overall effort?
Tim Eusterman: SaaS Factory helped us work very collaboratively across our functional teams. As part of the technical/dev program work streams, we were introduced to AllCloud, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner. They are in Israel, which is where our product management and R&D teams are located. This partnership proved to be instrumental in helping us to address many of the topics noted above.
SaaS Factory: What advice would you share to other software providers as they navigate to SaaS?
Tim Eusterman: This is hard to describe, because it touches so many areas. The thing we appreciated very much was the partnership that AWS provided to BMC. We have a leading solution in Control-M. It was very important to us that our SaaS offer, BMC Helix Control-M, built-on and extended that value to our customers.
AWS has a depth of knowledge and resources, and an amazing team that took our particular interests to heart, listened to our needs, and gave us options we might never have thought of ourselves. Having a partner like AWS on your journey to SaaS is important.
Learn More About SaaS on AWS
Enhance your SaaS knowledge with the AWS SaaS Factory Insights Hub, a growing library of business and technical content to help you gain insights and make informed decisions at any stage of the SaaS journey on AWS.
Watch these AWS re:Invent 2020 sessions to learn more about SaaS delivery on AWS:
- AWS Partner Keynote led by Doug Yeum, head of Global Partner Organization
- Monolith to serverless SaaS: Migrating to multi-tenant architecture
- Insights and inspiration from those on the transformation path
- Open source meets SaaS: Accelerating the path to SaaS adoption
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About AWS SaaS Factory
The AWS SaaS Factory program helps AWS Partners at any stage of the SaaS journey. Whether you are looking to build new products, migrate existing applications, or optimize SaaS solutions on AWS, the AWS SaaS Factory team can help.
AWS Technology Partners are encouraged to reach out to their AWS Partner Network (APN) representative to inquire about working with AWS SaaS Factory.
BMC Software – AWS Partner Spotlight
BMC Software is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner that offers a comprehensive set of solutions for the management of dynamic, cloud-based applications and the monitoring and provisioning of AWS infrastructure.
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