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There are some features or attributes that are so common that they have become the de facto standard

There is no rule saying you have to have what everyone else has but be aware when you don’t

This article publishes the main attributes that over 75% of SaaS services on G-Cloud 9 exhibited

Benchmark your offering. If your product does not have these, could it be grounds for losing a sale?

To be more precise you can do the analysis only against products you consider competitors

Differentiation

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity” isn’t a phrase I’d spend a lot of energy trying to support. “There’s no such thing as bad product differentiation” is just plain nuts. While there is an argument, particularly in public sector markets, that a low-cost product which satisfies all must-have requirements can win over a more expensive feature-rich alternative, generally products that lose competitive evaluations are showing ‘bad differentiation’. They are passed-over because they (appear) to be missing something the buyer perceives as valuable.

In the Insight article “Optimising your product: what G-Cloud buyers want” we were able to correlate attributes on the product list against sales success. This was for those attributes on the G-Cloud catalogue which are likely to apply to all services in an individual supplier’s portfolio (like ISO27001 accreditation).

This article looks at attributes where there is no argument that all products in a portfolio would share the same characteristic (like support for mobile devices, which may not be seen as useful throughout a varied portfolio of applications).

As sales data is only published by supplier, not by product, we cannot correlate this type of attribute easily to sales. Instead, we look at prevalence. If an attribute is available in 99% of products (such is the case for email support) we can conclude that it is “standard” to include it and a buyer may discriminate against a product that does not show it.

We should apply the test thoughtfully: if your offering is actually providing an alternative medium for communication from email you may consider that email support is superfluous, but then, to be sure, you need to ask if a buyer would hold the same view.

How to use the table

The table lists the attributes supported by more than 75% of the 6,600+ SaaS products listed on G-Cloud 9. You should use this table in conjunction with the table in “Optimising your product: what G-Cloud buyers want” to build a picture of how well your product maps against standard and desirable features.

Greater accuracy or relevance can be achieved by performing the comparison on category, vertical or competitor products but if your services perform badly in this exercise against the ‘average product’ you should give the gaps serious consideration. If you require additional refinement or to run the analysis on current data, please get in touch. I can provide benchmarking as a service or provide the G-Cloud 10 SaaS catalogue data in a .csv (approx 8,000 rows x 130 columns) from the website as it stands today from which you can perform your own analysis.

G-Cloud 9 SaaS “Industry Standard”

Attributes occurring in more than 75% of the entire SaaS catalogue

Attribute%Attribute%
Email support (standard or at extra cost)99%Support Firefox87%
Know where your data is stored and managed99%User access includes username & password85%
User authentication required97%Provide metrics on usage81%
Phone support96%Formal data sanitisation process81%
Board level security governance representation96%Support Safari 9+80%
Users have access to audit information93%Support mobile devices80%
Email support as standard92%Data stored and managed in UK80%
Incident management processes92%Users can customise service79%
Support Internet Explorer 10+91%Management access by username & password78%
Support Chrome91%Formal certification of security governance78%
PEN testing at least once a year89%Data protected between buyer/supplier networks77%
Formal vulnerability process89%Staff security clearance to Baseline or above77%
Protective monitoring processes89%

Attribute inflation

As noted in the earlier article, these results relate to G-Cloud 9. We expect more attributes to appear in this list over time. No sales data is yet published for G-Cloud 10. We will update and compare the findings when we have sufficient data to make the exercise worthwhile.