TOPDESK MAGAZINE - MARCH 2016 13

Ramon van Leeuwen
Ramon van Leeuwen has been working at
TOPdesk for over twenty years and became
Sales manager in 2005. In this position he
is responsible for all the organization’s sales
and marketing activities, including business
partnerships and new business development.
Ramon is a member of management and

WHY SOFTWARE
AS A SERVICE?
More and more suppliers offer their software as a
service in the cloud. But why do they do this? And
what are the big advantages for users? We asked two
service management software experts their opinions
on Software as a Service.

holds a seat in the Change Advisory Board
where he helps determine the strategic

TEXT: LEO KRANENBURG

direction of the TOPdesk product.
RamonvanLeeuwen
@RamonL69

Over the last few years, software suppliers have all been switching from the traditional
perpetual licence model to the Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription. With SaaS,
customers pay for software via a subscription according to use instead of making a
one-off purchase. Instead of installing the software on the organization’s servers,
it will now be in the supplier’s cloud. Organizations can then access it through the
internet. There is a worldwide proliferation of suppliers with this business model.
These are new suppliers who only offer software in the cloud, like Google and
Salesforce.com, and suppliers who already offered software packages. Ramon van
Leeuwen and Ludo Bergkamp have, as TOPdesk’s Sales manager and Sales team leader,
supported a myriad of organizations in the field of service management. What is their
vision on this trend?

Ludo Bergkamp
Where does this growth of subscriptions come from?
Ludo Bergkamp is Sales team leader and has

LB: This is a logical consequence of the shortcomings of the traditional licence.

been working at TOPdesk for over three years.

Organizations want their software costs evenly distributed, manageable and insightful.

In this position he works, among other things,

Perpetual licences do not meet these requirements: large one-off costs, long-term

on the switch to subscription models. He has

maintenance contracts, all followed by upgrade costs of which the amount and

twenty years work experience, of which he

payment date are unclear. A subscription removes all these uncertainties with a

spent almost ten years with international

monthly fee.

software companies who serve their
customers entirely with SaaS.

RvL: A licence also makes your bookkeeping less flexible. Just imagine if you are forced
to cut back, while you just invested in a new tool six months ago. Of course you won’t

LudoBergkamp
@LudoBergkamp

get part of your money back. But if you pay per user, it is easy to align your costs with
your new occupancy.

14 TOPDESK MAGAZINE - MARCH 2016

RvL: If you take a look at the total costs of

dust for years. This is very unwise from

There are however organizations that choose

ownership, it shows that SaaS is simply

a financial point of view and it puts your

for a subscription, but still run the software on

less expensive over a period of four to five

customers behind on new innovations.

their own servers.

costs for maintenance, staff, hardware and

LB: With SaaS, managing the software is

LB: Some organizations still have an anti-SaaS

implementation that add up to a number

entirely in the supplier’s hands. They can

policy or have hardware that is not yet written

higher than the subscription costs for SaaS.

choose to perform daily updates. That’s how

off. That’s why they cannot completely go for

As far as I’m concerned, choosing SaaS is

suppliers can continuously improve their

Software as a Service. But, at the same time,

smarter, and more flexible and profitable

software, leading to a better product with

it pays for these organizations to not commit

for most organizations. The same goes for

higher customer satisfaction. Customers can

themselves to a software purchase now.

the supplier. They would also rather have a

also give feedback on new functionalities

Because who knows what the policy will be

predictable monthly fee than large expenses

more quickly, which the supplier can get to

in two years?

for each new version.

work with.

LB: For suppliers, the classical perpetual

Users reap the benefits of SaaS because they

already reap the financial benefits without

licence model is also a perverse incentive to

always have the most up-to-date software.

making long-term commitments.

LB: Exactly. This is also true for maintenance,

LB: But the difference is that the customer

bug fixes and the safety and reliability of

remains responsible for updates and technical

RvL: That’s right. After each new version

the data. The entire technical management

management. They do not benefit from the

the suppliers directly start working on the

is the supplier’s responsibility. As a result,

biggest advantages of SaaS. I notice that these

development and innovation of their product.

organizations will have more manpower left

parties often make a full transition when

But these new pieces of software can gather

to perform core tasks.

opportunity arises.

years. With a perpetual licence you have

RvL: By choosing a subscription they can

save up innovations until they can release
a proper new version, with matching price tag.

TOPDESK MAGAZINE - MARCH 2016 15

Choosing the supplier’s cloud does
require organizations to hand over the
control of important themes such as
safety and reliability.
RvL: That’s true. But if you ask me, I think
these responsibilities should lie with the
supplier. After all, a software supplier’s

THE CLASSICAL PERPETUAL LICENCE MODEL
IS ALSO A PERVERSE INCENTIVE TO SAVE UP
INNOVATIONS
Ludo Bergkamp
Sales team leader, TOPdesk

reputation depends on the level of safety and
responsibility of his services, while for most
companies it is only one of many tasks.
LB: In spite of good intentions, we see this

data after termination of a contract, even

RvL: As far as I am concerned, the only

difference in practice as well. Of all customers

though the data with SaaS is the customer’s

tangible fear to make the switch is that

on TOPdesk SaaS we have about 95% on

property at all times.

not all software suppliers offer SaaS. As
an organization you will have to deal with

the newest version. They use a safer version
of TOPdesk with all security updates. All

LB: Or suppliers where it’s unclear how to

hybrid environments. If TOPdesk is the first

customer that host – or let others host –

access the data.

application in your organization to run in
the cloud, you will need to make links to all

TOPdesk this percentage is below fifty. More
than 30% of them are even behind by 18

RvL: You should not want that. The coming

local systems, for example. Otherwise all

months or more.

years the sector will have to work hard to get

these links can be lost during an automatic

over these teething problems.

software update.

Does the switch to SaaS require a change

LB: At TOPdesk we are currently working

in culture?

on the development of an application

RvL: This irrefutably has consequences for the
safety and reliability of the software.

programming interface or API. This is a

LB: SaaS suppliers are specialists when it
comes to their own software. In practice, this

RvL: The switch to a different market

standardized documentation link method

focus always benefits the safety and reliability.

approach and revenue model does of course

that is version-independent. If you use this

not happen overnight and asks for a certain

to build a link, it will remain intact with new

change in attitude.

software versions.

hand over control of their management. To

LB: Even though end users barely notice the

thin air over the next few years. I expect

take their away fears I always advise them

switch, it is different for application managers.

that everything will be available in the cloud

to thoroughly prepare and ask potential

The functional application management does

sooner than we think. Software as a Service

suppliers many questions about themes

not change, but the supplier does take over

will slowly become a standard in the world.

they’re unsure about.

the technical part. This could be an argument

RvL: I do understand why organizations

I imagine these issues will vanish into

without SaaS experience are hesitant to

for them to dig in their heels. But organization
LB: A question that should always be at the

that made the step towards SaaS tells me

tip of your tongue when you talk to suppliers

that in practice it is often considered more

is how economically stable they are. You are

as a chance than as a threat. Because a part

after all a lot more vulnerable for the collapse

of their tasks disappears, there is more room

of a SaaS supplier than when the software is

to create added value for the organization.

on your own server.

By learning how to better work with the
software, for example.

RvL: SaaS hasn’t left its childhood behind
when it comes to this. For example, there are
parties that make it difficult to retrieve your