Software CEO/CFO Outlook 2015

Necessity begets innovation, and the software industry has a highly successful history of innovating to create solutions that solve problems. But a successful marketplace depends on the customers.

The Software CEO / CFO Outlook 2015 study, the fourth in the annual series, found consensus among the surveyed companies regarding not only the hypergrowth of the industry but also how fast companies are growing and new technologies are entering the market.

Two prevailing themes emerged among the study findings: (1) the need to focus on customer success–the new foundation for continued growth–and (2) the “perfect storm” that now tosses major challenges in the path, making it difficult for software companies to find footing.

The study found that the industry is in a state of transition to a customer-centric business model. Executives participating in the study describe it as focusing on the “customer success journey” and agree that it is not the same thing as focusing on delivering stellar customer onboarding and support, nor is it just a way to reduce churn.

Buyers have much higher expectations of software vendors than they did 12 to 18 months ago. Software vendors now must understand how to make each customer succeed in their unique vision of “success” with a vendor’s product; must build a personalized, enjoyable relationship with each customer; and must ensure that the product success and enjoyable relationship continue through the entire life cycle. Achieving this objective necessitates changes in software business operations and strategies.

A detailed discussion of the three elements of the “perfect storm” now hitting the software industry comprises a section of this report. It discusses how the storm causes some customers not to know what they want or expect–despite expecting vendors to meet their expectations for success–and how the storm impacts vendors’ short-term and long-term strategies and resource needs.

This report on the Software CEO / CFO Outlook 2015 study provides a detailed look at one of the most exciting and yet most challenging times in the software world.

The report is structured to first discuss the current hypergrowth as well as growth opportunities and current drivers of customer spending. Then it moves to a discussion about the findings around the focus on customer success and how the various elements of the current perfect storm impact that effort. It concludes with a discussion about managing operations in the midst of figuring out how to effectively focus on customer success while in the midst of a perfect storm that slams that effort.

The report explores the forces now shaping the industry’s future and includes some thoughts around future implications of the information uncovered in the study.

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