SaaS – Software as a Service – is going to be the product innovation of the decade. While not actually new, since the global pandemic, businesses and industries have become acutely aware of the advantages of cloud-based software and the possibilities of changing their approach to the purchase of software and the relationship with their software partners.
I joined Arnlea in September 2020, during the global Covid-19 pandemic. Four months in, it’s exciting to see how we are positioning ourselves to meet future and current customer need. We’re setting objectives to take our side of the business forward and ensure that as clients recognise their own needs for upgrades and cloud-based software, Arnlea is already ahead of them, waiting to deliver.
We’re in a good place, with clear objectives to take us to the next level of SaaS provision as a business. We have three pillars, comprising of different strands that we have been mobilising for a number of years but are now bringing together into a single SaaS strategy to take the business forward, designed to meet and anticipate the asset management software needs of our customers now and in the future.
1 – A cloud-first approach to business – platform for the future
For the first time, we have a number of customers actively seeking cloud-based software for their asset management provision. Most of these customers have worked with Arnlea for some years and previously have had Intrinsix product and upgrades uploaded on their servers onsite or offshore. The global pandemic saw many people return to shore and office-based or onshore people started working from home. The fact is, it’s a lot easier to access cloud-based software rather than try and access your company emails, files and any other work you need to do via a VPN.
Arnlea is now formally setting out its cloud-first approach and actively marketing its cloud-based web applications. We’ve been doing this anyway for a few years but now with the market more willing to listen, we have a far more receptive audience. In addition, now we’re a Microsoft Silver Partner, our formalised cloud-based applications also possess the additional benefit of Microsoft’s security architecture for all our customers who take this next step.
2 – Mobile first
Our second pillar is to ensure that all our Intrinsix software, is fully mobile compliant. In other words that it can work on any mobile device – iPhone, android phone or any tablet – so that in the future inspectors and other customers can use either devices provided by the company, or their own mobile devices they have with them.
3 – Product agility
Our third and final pillar is to use an Agile approach to product development. You could say we want to develop our products to such a level that were there to be a global pandemic(!) we would be able to solve the very real challenges our customers would face, quickly and seamlessly, because we were able to respond to specific market problems or trends quickly and easily. We already work in an Agile fashion and we’re Scrum-ish in our approach to project management and product development. This means we’re able to better manage our product forecasting and evaluate customer needs before they have them so that we’re already prepared to deliver those solutions at the appropriate time.
SaaS level thinking: raising customers’ own aspirations
For some in the Oil & Gas industry, as distinct from the Energy industry as a whole, this level of SaaS thinking is ahead of discussions they’re yet to have. For others, who already had this type of next-level thinking on the table, the global pandemic has been a catalyst, accelerating the progress they were already making. Many offshore workers also now see the benefits of a more streamlined, tech-led approach to the work that they do. Our objective is to facilitate these conversations and support customers and help bring them on. There are many different benefits to taking a SaaS-approach to the purchase of your business software. It frees up investment in many areas, notably in servers and physical connectivity, delivering greater resources to IT departments who are free to focus on the devices, browsers and WiFi connectivity their business needs.
By formalising our SaaS strategy, we’re demonstrating that we’re a serious partner for our customers for the next decade and beyond. We’re continually developing and upgrading our software; we don’t just sit churning out legacy products, because that restricts growth and potential development for everyone. Arnlea is working with a number of partners to introduce their first cloud-based software and that will be a real milestone for their businesses. The global pandemic has prompted many Oil & Gas operators to embrace Office 365 and by taking that step, moving inspection software and its data to cloud-based platforms suddenly becomes a more natural move forward. We’re excited about the possibilities that this holds for Arnlea and the opportunities that lie ahead.