We were just back from the 2017 AWS Summit in London and as we were looking at the figures of the last quarter, I noticed something was definitely changing at PredicSis. We were been growing at a pace we had never experienced before. Of course, we’d had improvements in the product recently but it could not explain such a sudden rise in sales. We disrupted predictive analytics a couple of years ago by enabling anyone, with or without any data science skills, to benefit from Predictive Analytics in minutes to better understand what drives their customer behaviours and improve their conversion, upsell or retention campaigns. But we also learned that B2B sales mean a significant amount of time overcoming barriers to close deals. The last quarter was the first result of our newly implemented strategy: to have AWS Marketplace as a major delivery channel. And it seems to be right move.
You’ll probably agree that selling predictive analytics based on a proprietary automated Machine Learning (also known as auto ML) is definitely a B2B business with its own challenges to overcome. Imagine: results in minutes with or without data science skills where standards operating processes are weeks of work for expert teams and substantial financial investment. We hear companies can spend 100s of 1000’s of $. PredicSis enables companies to start with a pay as you go model of $8ph... What I had not foreseen correctly at the beginning is that all B2B barriers would also be ahead of us. Talking to companies more advanced on their AWS Marketplace approach, such as Matillion at Re:invent last year, convinced us to join the community.
Making things happen and faster
Now with just a few months of experience working on the AWS marketplace, I believe these are the 5 key reasons every software vendor should consider the AWS marketplace in his go to market.
The POC syndrom vs “do it or don’t do it”
Customers have to be convinced, especially when bringing such an innovative proposition. A POC is a standard first step. PredicSis.ai is used by many companies every day but every customer needs to see for himself. The problem is that after meeting all success criteria of a POC, it’s possible to have to engage with an entirely new team, running a completely different infrastructure as the POC has been run on a “protected zone”. This is particularly true for non-cloud architecture. So getting access to the real battlefield can take a long time, and can even be impossible. When using the AWS Marketplace, our customers follow the AWS moto, “Do it or don’t do it, but don’t test it”. No bad surprise for you or them.
The non-availability of data vs the “click & run”
Predicting the behavior of your customers requires data and starting a simple POC can be tough. In traditional organisations the data is siloed and it is sometimes hard for internal business users to have access to it. However, working with AWS users, who already have their data stored in Redshift or S3 drastically simplifies the access to data and speeds up predictive analytics initiatives: the customer starts a PredicSis.ai AMI in one click - no configuration required. This drastically simplifies the access to data and speeds up predictive analytics initiatives. And as PredicSis.ai core promise is to enable predictive insights in minutes, without complicated data preparation, they do get the first results right away. Boom.
The purchase department vs on-demand offer
When selling anything to businesses, getting the formal purchase agreement is often more complex than getting budgetary approval. The whole process is made up of frustrating delays and paperworks, and can essentially be a deterrent to even start or derail the delivery of the project. Being on the Marketplace removes this hurdle completely. No more paperwork! and, Moreover, as there is already a credit card attached to the account, the customer can start right away.
All mentioned above were, admittedly, some of the benefits we had heard of, but we somewhat doubted they would be materialised. Yet, we also noticed some non-planned benefits.
Getting customers familiar with Predictive Analytics
Working on our Marketplace-ready release allowed us to disrupt our pricing and capture a new type of user: the hourly based users. PredicSis.ai being available on an hourly basis, it allows customers to get the benefits of predictive analytics in minutes at the price of $8ph. Compared to the 3-4 months usually required of a data science expert, that’s a tempting proposition for companies to have a go right away. Today we have many customers getting familiar with the benefits of Predictive Analytics, understanding what drives customers’ behaviors without investing in non-core skills and expertise. As Dick Koers from Loyalty Lab, one of our customers, recently stated “Wondering what parameters drive your business and where to improve? Just upload some data, sit back and Predicsis will get your questions answered.”
A global reach
Selling to the fast growing AWS customers base is also a way to scale and segment our addressable market. We recently started to actively participate in AWS Summits where you can get in touch with potential users (Berlin in May, Paris and London in June) and we are now preparing for Re:invent. Our inside sales force can reach a global and growing base of AWS users who can try our offer in one click. Selling advanced analytics is complex. Enabling the one-click, from $8ph, with companies on the other side of the world is achievable and allows us to start spreading PredicSis.ai wings in all five continents. Today, our users are come from South America, Central America, the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. All this within 4 months thanks to the power of the AWS marketplace.
Moving to the AWS Marketplace is far more than speeding up the provisioning process. It is having a unique, worldwide process. It reduces the friction that can arise to embark customers in need to better understand their business and to improve conversion, upsell, retention or reduce fraud or unplanned maintenance on their IoT fleet. It is also leveraging the growing AWS customers base with a clear and immediate offer. Joining the AWS Marketplace not only made me a happy CEO, it also made more sales and marketing leaders happy than I originally planned.