ServiceSource is a leader in an emerging field called Service Revenue Management, which for most technology companies refers to management of their ongoing subscription maintenance streams. The company offers a technology platform and a suite of applications, as well as a managed services capability for some of their largest technology customers. Some of their recognizable customers include Adobe, Cisco WebEx, NetApp and Xactly. Montclare did a Smart SaaS Business Profile on ServiceSource in 2011 that provides background on the company, their strategy and product portfolio.
Last week I visited the ServiceSource offices in San Francisco to get a sneak peak of their new Avalon platform. Avalon is ServiceSource’s next generation SaaS platform that will pull together multiple capabilities including a beautiful new user experience, integration services with other leading Cloud platforms, a connected ecosystem of ServiceSource managed services and their continuous intelligence capability.
I was very impressed by their new user interface, its very clean and uses info-graphics metaphors along with in-line analytics to create a very easy-to-use, and understand product. The graphics were elegant and provided a lot of drill down and mouse over information for the user. Because ServiceSource is using HTML5, this interface is available on mobile devices as well as through a standard web browser. The charts and graphs are all available inside of the product, which makes it easier to use than other CRM-like systems. The design point was to create a system that offers a walk-up interface, one that required little or no training for the users. Here’s a screen shot of the new user interface.
Another unique aspect to the product is that there is a near real-time data warehouse that feeds the analytics for Avalon. For example, when their customers are comparing their renewal rates against the industry or even their peer group, they will be looking at really fresh data. It is common for most aggregated data of this type to be compiled and delivered in a quarterly or in some cases a monthly basis. So this continuous intelligence capability may deliver a competitive edge to ServiceSource customers because the information is representing how the company is operating right now. For most SaaS companies, it is difficult to gather service revenue-related data about their business on a continual basis but with this aspect of the ServiceSource Avalon product, it will make it really straightforward because it will be delivered through easy-to-use metrics and dashboards.
ServiceSource is using a very modern Cloud infrastructure for their Avalon platform. The infrastructure is build on Node.js and Amazon Web Services, which is interesting because I haven’t seen a lot of enterprise software vendors building their next generation platform on the Amazon infrastructure. There are clearly some scalability and elasticity advantages to using the AWS platform for a SaaS offering and ServiceSource is using many of these capabilities. The company also has a strong Avalon development team with some ex-Coghead alumni leading the efforts.
With their new user interface and the flexibility they are building into their SaaS platform, it may be very easy for the company to allow their customers and prospects to ‘try before they buy’ new software modules and capabilities. I believe that this inherent flexibility, for this type of application suite, should really increase user adoption and consumption levels, which should help ServiceSource continue to renew their customers and sell them additional products and managed services.
The Avalon service will be generally available later in 2012.