Tallwave and KBA Alliances partner to provide a comprehensive suite of services to help modernize and position Independent Software Vendors for the future.
Tallwave, a specialist in User Experience Design, Mobilization, SaaS, and Branding, has joined forces with KBA Alliances (KBA), the premiere provider of strategic development services for the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem, to provide a suite of services aimed to help the Microsoft Partner ecosystem modernize products and services while expanding their brands and market positions.
Why Microsoft Partners?
For decades, thousands of software companies have chosen to develop plugins and enhancements for Microsoft Products and Platforms including Dynamics ERP and CRM, SharePoint and Office. These Partners and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) have created a thriving ecosystem spanning hundreds of thousands of companies. However, over the past decade, many of these Partners have not been willing or able to adjust to the technology and marketing/channel disruption brought about by the advent of Cloud, allowing their products and brands to become stale within their own respective platforms and customers.
As a result, well-funded competitors are coming-up with a new generation of cloud-enabled alternatives, flexible and intuitive mobile interfaces, and relevant, compelling brands. This new set of competition is nipping at the heels of many Partners and ISVs who have not invested in offering competitive offerings.
“Talking with ISVs, we hear two common desires: (1) Remain competitive with product offerings, and (2) position for growth capital or exit,” according to Jerrod Bailey, Tallwave Partner and VP of Business Development, “These ISVs are waking up in the morning and hearing from customers that they are evaluating sexy new competitors out of the Bay Area with better UI, easy integration, and a more compelling price point.” According to Bill Allen CEO of KBA, these Partners are seeing fellow Microsoft Partners getting acquired by private equity firms, competitors and even Microsoft itself. “But many aspiring ISVs know their technology and growth metrics will not position them for a similar exit unless they do something to address it,” says Bill.
What’s Stopping Them?
The typical ISV has one or more things working against it:
- Technology Grid Lock. Legacy code built inextricably on top of legacy Microsoft products. Sometimes these products retired, or at the very least they are based on technology that is 20 years old. Oftentimes, they are on-premises solutions with no way of porting to a modern cloud-based architecture without a wholesale re-write.
- Lack of Forward Thinking. Many of these ISVs have become lifestyle businesses, often with the CEO/Owner content with modest growth and a relatively loyal base of clients. The perceived disruption or cost associated with a meaningful product or brand refresh exceeds the pain associated with maintaining status quo.
- Iterative versus Transformational Product Execution. Most ISVs have not had to launch a new product in years. The mechanics of launching a new product requires the execution skills which may not exist in the first place including; Modern UI/UX and development frameworks, product validation and user testing, and branding. These are all skillsets required to not just maintain competitiveness, but to pull ahead of the competition.
- Cost of Change. Security risks, infrastructure investment, hardware sunk costs, and personnel gaps are all common reasons used in the Board Room to justify a lack of action, but the competition is poised to win because it has already embraced these challenges.
An Easier Migration Path
As a professional services firm that has worked with over 150 start-ups and hundreds of mid-size to enterprise clients, Tallwave has helped to build the kind of competitors that these Microsoft Partners are now facing. It’s this combined skillset of Design, Development, Branding and Marketing that Tallwave brings to the table, alongside with KBA Alliances who bring decades of experience partnering and working within the Microsoft ecosystem.
“We believe the easier path for these ISVs is to use the same methods their start-up competitors are using: Lean business approach, Rapid iteration, Minimum Viable Products,” says Jerrod Bailey, “The path to being competitive should not be disruptive. It should be practical.” For example, Tallwave offers ISVs rapid prototyping and testing with users to validate major product investments before they are made. With KBA’s unique insight and experience, Tallwave helps think through the broader business strategy around how to alter the business model, including pricing and go-to-market strategy, to make sure new products don’t cannibalize existing business. When it comes to brand and market position, a brand can be refreshed and modernized without completely changing the name to something cute and ending in .iot. Bill Allen sums up by saying, “The goal is evolutionary change, not revolutionary change, never taking away from the strong foundation, customers and partnerships that have been built.”
About KBA and Tallwave
KBA Alliances and Tallwave have collaborated in developing end-to-end offerings to help ISVs modernize, mobilize and position for growth. Offerings around Cloud and Mobile Technology, Usability and Design, Product Management, Branding and Growth, are all brought together to help ISVs and integrators to make modernization both inexpensive and practical.
Bill Allen Founder and CEO KBA Alliances