Is ‘suite’ becoming a dirty word?
How much attention do you pay to the pros and cons of software and service bundling? I was reminded of the topic on a recent briefing call with Dave Russell, Veeam’s VP of enterprise strategy, where he updated us on the company’s latest results and product announcements.
It was a lively discussion that not only highlighted how well Veeam has been doing growth-wise over the past couple of years, but also how comprehensive its portfolio of data protection solutions has become. Options now exist to deal with a whole range of clouds and technology stacks – including containers, thanks to the acquisition of Kasten – with the ability to coordinate data protection policies across your estate.
Modular, integrated or bundled – it can be a tough choice
During the conversation, one of my colleagues, Tony Lock, asked how all of this goodness was packaged. In particular he was interested in whether customers who wanted to put a broad, coherent environment in place could buy a complete set of Veeam’s offerings in the form of a suite.
I thought Dave Russell’s response to this was really interesting. He said a lot of customers nowadays are very wary of the word ‘suite’. They’ve learned that packages bundling a lot of capability for a single price may not represent the best value. This can happen, for example, if you buy or subscribe to a suite that includes components for which you have little or no immediate need.
To be clear, Russell wasn’t passing judgement when he raised this potential issue, he was simply highlighting a common perception to help explain why Veeam had largely stuck with the modular pricing approach.
Suite success or suite & sticky?
Nevertheless, the comment struck a chord with us as we’ve recently been looking into pricing and financing models. As part of this, we had already explored the pros and cons of suite-based offerings.
Our view is that the suite concept isn’t inherently good or bad, but that you do need to properly assess and think through what’s on offer. And the danger of being seduced into paying for stuff that you don’t need is just one of the pitfalls.
Another potential issue is inconsistent quality and richness across the suite. Some components may be on a par with best-of-breed alternatives while others might be new, unfinished or what we call ‘filler’ or ‘tick box’ items. The risk is then that you are tempted to implement a weaker element on the basis that it’s already paid for, even though it doesn’t adequately meet business requirements.
We’ll pick up some of these issues, and others, in subsequent posts, given the prevalence of attractive-looking packages at the moment. In the meantime, working with vendors like Veeam who offer a clear and simple commercial model is one way of making sure that you don’t inadvertently sign a contract that favours the supplier more than you!