Why Sockeye Has Evolved To A “Service-As-A-Subscription” Model (And How It’s Impacting Our Clients)
Article by Nick Brorson, CEO of Sockeye
Building lasting and equitable relationships with clients is something that most consulting firms would consider a top priority.
Unfortunately, from the client’s point of view, standard implementations in our industry can often feel like one-sided, capex-heavy transactions filled with “hopes and prayers” that the vendor will get the job done. From the get-go, the client-vendor relationship can feel misaligned, with important updates and services “fenced off” and generally devoid of any ability to iterate, update, or reconcile in an agile manner.
This issue has become so increasingly important, and I was recently requested to address the subject in a presentation given to a select group of top Sage Intacct partners. In the presentation, I specifically discussed how our nontraditional “Sockeye-as-a-service” approach is designed to create a truly equitable relationship with our clients and add tremendous value - all without the heavy upfront costs.
It’s a “non-traditional” approach that simply puts our clients’ needs first, and gives them the resources and financial flexibility to grow their business while continuing to receive our guided services. As a result, we have been able to maximize the overall quality and efficacy of service we provide to our clients, which consequently empowers them to utilize more of their new systems much faster.
It’s a model that we’ve been thinking about, refining, and implementing for years, and has allowed us to add exponential value to our clients while driving over 142 percent growth for our business in 2019.
The Subscription Model: “Sockeye-as-a-Service”
Our “Sockeye-as-a-Service” model essentially scopes out a set of relevant services for the client, bundles them into a package that includes ongoing consulting, support, reporting, training, and software development services, and then removes any caps to those services - all for a recurring subscription fee.
Straightaway, this model creates a paradigm shift in the client-vendor relationship and transforms the client’s perception of our services in the following ways:
Total alignment of client and Sockeye goals
This model eliminates expensive upfront capital expenditure costs from the client’s balance sheet, and transitions that upfront expense into a predictable stream of operating expenses. Our services are no longer viewed in terms of billable hours, but in terms of solving the issue and providing value.
As a result, the client’s “hopes and prayers” of a successful implementation - and an eventual return on investment - turns into a totally equitable relationship based on us “earning” the client’s business every month.
Likewise, this model provides an agile mechanism for reconciling specific services without requiring us and the client to go through contractual exercises or change order workflows to do so.
From our perspective as a vendor, the revenue cycle shifts from a capex-heavy lump sum to an opex-based stream that places the focus more on building long-lasting relationships with clients. This recurring revenue model can grow based on the increased value that we provide to the client, and it also makes planning, staffing, and scaling our services much easier.
"High touch service" allows for iteration and refinement over time
In the traditional all-in-one project model, upsells and “fenced off” services are an accepted reality. Unfortunately, this not only hinders the client’s ability to take full advantage of the implemented software/ system, but it also creates a business relationship where the client may feel “pushed” into making decisions. With this model, creating a long-term, loyal relationship with the client can naturally turn into a secondary priority.
Instead, we flip the model on its head. We create an empathetic business relationship in which our clients are drawn, or “pulled”, towards our services. This is achieved, in part, by removing the perception of upsells, and allowing the client to call and leverage our expertise as much as they want.
The immediate effect of this is that we’re now a “high touch service” focused on providing sustained, refined improvements to the client over time. From planning to implementation, we are in constant contact with the client. Once the system goes live, there’s suddenly a host of new questions they need answered - and we’re right there to provide the answers.
Most importantly, these sustained improvements and iterations result in our clients utilizing much more of the implemented system, much quicker. Then, as the client matures in the product, or achieves a significant milestone (like the acquisition of another company), we are perfectly positioned as the client’s first choice to help facilitate those changes in the system.
Now and into the future, we strive to earn the trust and long-term loyalty of our clients through innovation, education, and improvement.
About the author
Nick serves as Sockeye's CEO, both guiding the strategic direction of the company and leading the business development team. He has over 20 years experience in the software industry, starting on the front lines of support for Microsoft. Throughout his career he has been exposed to every aspect of consulting, and taken the best elements from those collective experiences, and poured it into building Sockeye.
Nick Brorson, CEO of Sockeye