I've been working with an OEM partner, Advantage Integrated Solutions. They have been using Reliable Response Notification for an interesting purpose. Notification has been taken out of its typical role as an emergency notification tool, and they've been using it integrated with a workflow system. This has been very interesting to me.
It brings notification out of the IT horizontal market. IT is a notoriously difficult horizontal to sell new products into. They've been burned by poor quality, fast changing requirements, large bills, and difficulty maintaining the software they install. I can promise that my software is easy to use, bug free, etc. I can even show them, with demos, trials, references, etc. But, nothing will remove a deeply felt belief.
It introduces an SAAS model. I've come to love software as a service. It's cheaper for the customer, while providing Reliable Response with a reoccurring revenue stream. Support is 100x easier, and the product appears more reliable because Reliable Response can handle problems before they show up with the customers (for instance, hardware or network issues). I get better usage statistics so I can further improve the product. Best of all, it opens up a market to a whole new breed of customer, the small company that doesn't have a lot of money. Instead of a one-time $10k purchase, you can do a $40/month and buy only the features you need.
It's a new market. I have competitors in the IT space. At least one is a good competitor. And, another competitor has the vast market share. Competitors are good because they let you know the market is proven. Even better are customers. Pretty much every vertical out there requires this sort of product, but the IT horizontal is the only market that's being addressed. Same product, more customers, fewer competitors. Even though I get less money per sale, the sales are easier.
It's easy to get technology partners. When Notification is an IT product, I can partner with monitoring, help desk and security packages. Most of these are closed systems with few easy integration points, and a difficult partnership program. Once I get outside of IT, I can partner with a much broader range of customer. Pretty much every SAAS vendor has the hooks I need. Heck, I don't even need the buy-in from the SAAS vendor for the most part (although it's nice to have).
So, why hasn't Notification taken off in this space? Well, I only got the religion a few weeks ago. Mostly, though, I am looking for partners to bring into the company who know particular verticals that I can attack. Anyone who's interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org