NAB Highlights: Margaret Craig’s insight into procuring SaaS

An aerial view of Las Vegas at night.

As we enter the last day of NAB tomorrow at the Las Vegas Convention Center, it’s interesting to look back on the very first session of the show. This year’s IABM State of the Industry Breakfast, held at 8am on Monday morning, set the stage for the rest of the week with industry trends and predictions, many very positive, like that 60.8% of companies were in profit over the past 24 months.

However, not all was congratulatory roses. Some light was shown on areas of chronic inefficiency that have been difficult to change. A few points that especially resonated with the audience came from Signiant CEO Margaret Craig around the need for a better understanding of SaaS procurement. Many in the audience tweeted their support and Sports Video Group published an in-depth interview with her today. As a 30-year industry veteran and one of the first female electrical engineers in media technology, Craig definitely has some wisdom to share. Here’s a summary of the main points she made in the State of the Industry Breakfast and a few of the commenting tweets.


As a result of not understanding the SaaS model, a lot of time and money is wasted trying to purchase it

“Our customers talk a lot about efficiency — they focus on squeezing every little bit of efficiency out of their operations and technical infrastructures,” said Craig. “But one thing they are decidedly NOT efficient about is purchasing SaaS offerings. Because the business is still in transition from hardware and perpetual software procurement, they are still approaching SaaS buying like a major capital purchase. They want to involve a lot of stakeholders, do big POC’s, undertake analysis, etc.”




Customers need to shift the burden of proof to the supplier

“The result is that they often end up spending far more on the buying process than they would to just buy a year’s subscription. That’s how customers need to start thinking about SaaS. Jump in and buy it, and if you don’t like it don’t renew,” said Craig. “You don’t need to invest in procurement decision-making and deployment is much simpler and therefore less costly.  Shift the burden to the supplier — make it my problem to demonstrate value in that first year if I want to keep you as a customer.  If I can’t do that, simply don’t renew.”


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