Building a scalable SaaS business: The power of platform thinking.
Client Success Stories

Building a scalable SaaS business

Learn how GreatSoft successfully scaled its SaaS business by leveraging Cyberlogic's CyberCloud solution to host its clients' data.

“In construction, a platform is something that lifts you up and on which others can stand. The same is true in business. By building a digital platform, other businesses can easily connect their business with yours, build products and services on top of it, and co-create value. This ability to ‘plug-and-play’ is a defining characteristic of Platform Thinking.” – Harvard Business Review 

The bridge that connects people and processes 

While out-of-the-box, off-the-shelf, and plug-and-play solutions billed via subscriptions delivered via the cloud have become the default option for most businesses today, many end up with a problem. Over time, companies sign up for more and more Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, many of which can’t speak to one another. This creates a reliance on APIs to connect one platform to the other — or worse, elaborate spreadsheets with formulas so complicated that only actuaries understand them.  

In his capacity as an outsourced Chief Information Officer (CIO), Francois Kriel, Client Success Principal at Cyberlogic, often finds that this ‘patchwork quilt’ of different systems and platforms is the norm when he first enters a business. The result is a clunky technology interface, creating a poor (and costly) user experience. When your people are constantly switching between different platforms, systems, and spreadsheets they spend more time overcoming the friction in the flow of information than doing the actual work. Technology should be the bridge between people and process, but if that bridge is flawed, people will seek other bridges — or worse, build their own — as a way around it. And so, another spreadsheet is born.  

      Greatsoft Website Client Case Study Quotes-1

Successful SaaS — or platform businesses — know that if their customers can’t rely on the platform as the foundation for most of their workflow and third-party solutions are introduced, customer lifetime value (CLV) and retention are at stake. In a business model where CLV is almost interchangeable with subscription duration, reducing churn is a constant focus.  

Differentiation through hyper-specialisation 

Many SaaS providers want to be everything to everyone, which is a pitfall in and of itself. Customers sign up with high expectations, assuming their new platform solution will be able to “run their entire business”, but ultimately limitations pop up, forcing customers to add additional or — more costly — bespoke software solutions. This is even more evident if a proper business case has not been developed initially identifying success criteria for a new solution. 

By focusing on a single industry, SaaS providers can overcome these pitfalls, creating a solution tailored to the unique workflow requirements of a specific audience.

GreatSoft’s decision to invest in a value proposition that is hyper-specialised to a single industry — accounting and auditing — is a significant component of its success for the following reasons: 

  1. Resources, time, and money are invested into a comprehensive out-of-the-box value proposition that supports the majority of customer workflow requirements. An intimate understanding of a customer’s typical workday, their employee experience, and industry requirements helped secure a market leadership position.   
  2. The solution is scalable to multiple customers in a single industry (in this case, professional services firms) with a limited need for the platform or core product to be adapted. Key integrations were offered or developed in response to customer demand. 
  3. Different modules or components can be individually sold, or cross- and up-sold over time as GreatSoft’s customers scale or their needs change.  

Francois Kriel's knowledge and experience of the GreatSoft solution come from supporting the change management and implementation in a business where he is the outsourced CIO. The resulting impact of the implementation was an improved employee experience for the firm’s staff and improved client experience as a result of faster turnaround times, the combination of which ultimately improved the margin per billable hour for the firm’s employees.  

When your platform is your client’s foundation, it must be strong and flexible 

While it’s possible to build your own foundation as a SaaS provider, it no longer makes business or financial sense to do so. In a world where cloud computing is accessible and secure, the scalability it affords businesses makes it a ‘no-brainer’. Taking an OPEX approach, ensuring customer demand and supply of resources are as evenly matched as possible, enables greater flexibility.  

That’s why a leading SaaS provider, like GreatSoft, relies on third-party private and public cloud technical and hosting capabilities. In Cyberlogic’s journey with GreatSoft, our cloud gurus focussed on achieving balanced value from a hybrid approach to hosting – staging the journey from private to public cloud to enable concurrent modernisation of the application stack. The private cloud costing model is typically better hedged against volatile exchange rate fluctuations, while public cloud solutions offer strong governance practices and policies. 

Cyberlogic’s locally hosted CyberCloud solution provides GreatSoft with predictable growth at a predefined rate. This provides core resource consumption and monitoring as well as vulnerability management services.  

The CyberCloud solution is designed and managed following international best practices, ensuring reliability and availability for clients. For GreatSoft this means maximum uptime of its cloud-hosted business solutions, enabling the GreatSoft team to focus on its core business, rather than worrying about the uptime of its solution.  

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“We need another server in the data centre by lunchtime, please! 

When a platform provider, like GreatSoft, signs on a new customer, it creates tremendous demand for technology resources all at once with large volumes of data flowing in quickly. In a world where a smooth, secure, and efficient onboarding experience can make or break the sale, GreatSoft’s close partnership with Cyberlogic empowers it to deliver on a crucial part of a new customer's journey and experience.

Cyberlogic’s cloud team seamlessly integrates with GreatSoft's in-house IT team, fostering a collaborative partnership that facilitates frequent and swift deployments with minimal impact on GreatSoft’s clients. 

“Security as a service”  

Ensuring secure handling of sensitive information within GreatSoft's environment is of utmost importance. Given the nature of the data they host and the significant compliance requirements of their target industry, it is imperative to ensure robust cyber security measures, aligned with the relevant regulatory frameworks are in place. Practically, this means supporting GreatSoft with Vulnerability Management Services through Cyberlogic’s CyberForensics Blue Team, as well as regular penetration testing via its Red Team. The Vulnerability Management Service is driven by a six (6) step framework, developed by Cyberlogic, which ensures a structured approach is followed.  From automated scanning and impact analysis to planned and scheduled remediation of vulnerabilities detected in GreatSoft’s managed environment. Monthly progress reports are provided with quarterly check-ins to gauge the effectiveness of the remediation initiatives undertaken. Ensuring a pragmatic delivery-based approach to improve GreatSoft’s overall cyber security posture. 

These proactive cyber security initiatives not only fortify GreatSoft’s defences against potential vulnerabilities but also ensure compliance while safeguarding the integrity of the hosted information. Through diligent vulnerability management and penetration testing efforts, Cyberlogic upholds the highest standards of data security in the GreatSoft ecosystem. 

By entrusting the foundation of its platform to Cyberlogic's private and public cloud expertise, GreatSoft ensures scalability, security, and optimal performance.  

For GreatSoft, partnering with Cyberlogic was transformative. A secure cloud environment providing maximum uptime and availability of services, simple customer onboarding and rapid scalability, along with transparent cost management benefits both GreatSoft and its customers. 

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