The Trials and Tribulations of a Software-as-a-Service Company

Market Dojo provides an eSourcing solution based entirely in the cloud. And whilst we boast about all the benefits of being a SaaS company, such as pay per use pricing and delivery, instant access, and the ability to try the software before committing to a purchase, it would be beneficial to explain what exactly SaaS really means.

We worked with our knowledgeable partner Kelly Barner at Buyers Meeting Point to discuss what makes SaaS different to cloud computing, how we benefit from working with our SaaS suppliers and how users can benefit from working with us.

Blog Talk Radio: Does Strategic Sourcing via SaaS Lead to Solution Disposability?

Check out the Blog Talk Radio above and get in touch if you have any questions. How do you best utilise SaaS providers? Or maybe you’re part of a SaaS company, what pros and cons have you discovered?

Don’t forget you can always sign up for free here and check out the benefits of a SaaS eSourcing tool.

[Guest Blog] eAuction in the cloud is heaven

Peter Schmidt’s latest article discusses the generic benefits of SAAS and what eAuctions in the cloud means to businesses.
‘Software as a Service’, commonly abbreviated to SAAS, carries a number of generic benefits. These benefits are particularly true for an application like an eAuction as delivered by Market Dojo.

Let us first have a look at some of the generic benefits of SAAS
The idea behind SAAS is that the software can be used as a utility. The financial model behind the SAAS solution should be tailored to the majority of the cases. This makes it a strong competitor to in-house ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, as in most cases the cost is based on licenses and excess functionality that comes with a higher price.

Once functionality becomes a pay per use utility, it makes it extremely interesting for experimenting as to how it will help to show the benefit to the business. In most cases you can test the functionality through demos, which are generally free for a period of time.

SAAS applications are often used without the permission of IT departments, IT departments can be apprehensive about the use of unknown SAAS applications. Commonly referred to as shadow IT. Therefore characteristics like data privacy, security and the location of data servers should be shared with the IT department to avoid the cloud casting a shadow over the IT people.

However as the carrier for SAAS application is the Internet, the presence is ubiquitous, which gives the customer the benefit of the world market.

The cloud addresses the world as a customer base, allowing users to learn from each other and their experiences by analysing the metadata, made available by the supplier. Individuals would be able use the metadata to glean how other users have established results through different tactics and strategies. An example of this would be deducing the most suitable auction type such as a Ranked Reverse Auction or Japanese Reverse Auction from the data produced by previous auctions.

At the same time this information can be used by the supplier to gain insight into how enhancements to the SAAS solution can be made, while at the same time listening to the user community.

The generic benefits of SAAS applied by Market Dojo
Why do I think that eAuction in the cloud is heaven? Because it is utility driven, eAuction’s are a process that usually takes place a number of times per annum. Making the business case is not rocket science. Simply the cost is known and therefore the likely savings, typically showing a very high return on investment. Also during the eAuction the savings can be seen in real time, which allows for an immediate assessment of the anticipated business case.

This part is clearly understood by Market Dojo in their pricing model which is transparent and tailored to the individuals intended use.

Market Dojo have created an experimental environment in a sandpit. Allowing users to practise creating an event prior to purchasing a license. It also shows users that the software is geared to the fundamentals of the most commonly known auction types.

Transparency in how the SAAS environment is built and how attention is given to the most common worries about Cloud Computing is clearly outlined in the language of the IT folks. White papers, guides and templates are all available as documents that can be downloaded from their site.

Market Dojo has also issued an infographic that shows the analysis of the number of eAuctions that have been carried out. This infographic shows a reflection of their experience in the field and can be used to determine the strategy for your next eAuction.

Although the software is an enabler for the entire eAuction process, it genuinely comes to life with the aid and the expertise of a procurement professional, who can create a structured process around eAuctions. Which in itself is crucial for success.

Peter is an independent consultant for P.Schmidt Consultancy Service B.V and has a long track record in sales, consultancy and procurement. He specialises in Telecoms, Managed Services and Public Cloud.


Peter Schmidt
Independent Consultant
Email: peter@pscbv.nl
Tel: + 31 6 217 124 72
@peterschmidt01

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[NEW RELEASE] Here’s what our developers have been up to…

One of the many beauties of providing SaaS technology is that our clients don’t need to spend time mass updating their systems and reinstalling the latest release of our software. We are a multi-tenanted application, meaning that there’s always one version of Market Dojo available to everyone.

This doesn’t mean that new features and benefits aren’t being released. Any little nuances you find with our software are all logged via our support portal (check out this article on how to log issues and the processes we follow to deal with them).

Our development team have been working very hard for this release to bring you a list of new features which we hope you’ll love…

Hyperlink documents in Questionnaire export report
Within Market Dojo, there are a number of types of question you can ask your suppliers. One of which allows you to reference a document. After the event has ended, the host is then able to download a report of the event.

This update allows the event host (buyer) to click on the specific document that has been referenced and easily see the related one. This can save reviewers a lot of time, as it makes it much easier to check the documentation before giving a score.

Re-invite participants in SIM Dojo
This update allows you as a host to resend the instructions to a supplier on how to onboard to SIM Dojo so as to prompt a Participant who has not answered.

This feature exists in Market Dojo, and will now work in a similar way within our onboarding solution with an option to ‘re-send invite’ to participants. The option will not be visible after participants accept the invite.

For suppliers, this will improve their experience by creating a reminder for them to respond. For hosts, this makes it much easier to chase up late suppliers.

Enter in participant email addresses manually
Market Dojo has a number of ways to add participants to an event. Until now adding them by email address manually could be quite slow, as it needed to be done one by one. Now, you can enter (or copy and paste from Excel) several email addresses in one go. The system will even suggest addresses from your participant database. This is something several customers have requested, and will mean event setup can be completed faster.

Along with that, many other issues that you’ve kindly raised with us have been fixed. And as ever, we love showing you how proud we are of these features. Keep the demo requests coming in so we can hear your feedback and show you how to get the most out of our intuitive eSourcing tools.

Don’t forget to BOOK A DEMO NOW!

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

How we do Customer Support…

We love our customers. We want to make sure they are happy with the service we provide to them. This means customer support is VERY important to us. So, how do we do it?
Track everything
To make sure everyone knows what is going on (customers and ourselves alike), we use a support portal to record all the information about support tickets and solutions. The portal integrates with the Market Dojo application, our Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), Live Chat and Bug Tracking systems. This means it’s easier for us to tell who needs help, and track the progress of a ticket. All our customers also have access to the portal which they can use to find solutions to common problems, review their tickets and log new ones.
Make it easy to report a problem
Our customers can use a range of ways to contact us these include email, telephone, Skype and web chat. About 50% of our support cases come via web chat; email and phone each account for 20% with the remainder split across other channels. Our goal is to provide the same high standard of support, regardless of the channel.
Everyone on support
At Market Dojo, support is shared amongst the team. This approach has become really popular among Software as a Service companies over the last few years. Although doing support can be hard to juggle with other tasks, it means that we remain connected to what our customers want, and put this at the centre of everything else we do.
Classifying the problem
We see several types of support issue, and we always try to carefully categorise it. This allows us to set priorities and also create useful reports.
We categorise problems according to who can help – Market Dojo Support, Operations or Development teams, or is it a question for the person hosting the event? We also identify which area of the system the problem affects. Currently about 61% of our support tickets can be solved by the front line support team.

Finding a solution
Once we fully understand the problem, we may be able to resolve it straight away. For example, by giving advice on how to reset a password or a suggestion on where to find the correct information. For problems which need help from the development team, we will log the issue in our Bug Tracker.
Bugs are prioritised according to their urgency and importance. This means that we would work on a problem which is preventing customers from running events, before we looked at a suggestion to move a button.
Customer notification
After a bug has been fixed, we will notify the affected Customer and close the case.
Improve
We are always looking for ways to improve our support…
If we answer a support query which is likely to be asked again in the future, we create a solution. This solution is then shown on the Support Portal so all our customers and the support team can see it. This concept is called Knowledge Centred Support and helps to keep our solutions up to date.
Once a month we review the new cases and look for trends and ways to improve. We recently found that many Live Chat requests were questions for the event Host and not for Market Dojo. As a result we are experimenting with changes to our Live Chat buttons to make it clearer whom to contact.
We love our customers. We want to make sure they are happy with the service we provide to them. We use systems and processes to ensure we do the best we can to support them.
I hope this insight into how we support our customers is interesting. I would love to hear any questions or ideas about how we could do better. If you are a customer, please do try the support portal next time you need help.
Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Market Dojo's Thoughts From eWorld

With the first eWorld of 2016 having been and gone, it’s time to reflect on the day and think about what we took away.

A huge thank you to the team for organising the eWorld event. As usual, the delegates seemed to enjoy the day as much as the sponsors- a hard balance!
Our competition winner for this year was Gareth Cale of United Biscuits. We look forward to catching up with Gareth to find out how he wants to implement his month’s licence of Market Dojo software.

The day was, as ever, a success! With our new stand position (next to the lunch buffet!), we had a wonderful number of visitors throughout the course of the day.
Unfortunately, that did mean we were so busy we didn’t get to attend any talks!
So we’re asking YOU. What are some of your key takeaways from eWorld this time? What was missing that you’d like to see next time and what could we, as a sponsor, do to help ensure you leave feeling enlightened and innovated to try new technologies and improve your current ways of working?
Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

5 Reasons Why You’d be a Fool to Miss eWorld!

The eWorld Procurement and Supply summit is one of our personal favourites in the events calendar.
At Market Dojo, we’ve been showcasing our on-demand eSourcing tools there for the last 5 years now and we think you’d be crazy not to go. Here are our top 5 reasons why procurement professionals should join us there…

1. Informative sessions
The day begins with a bacon roll, breaks for a tasty lunch and ends with a drinks reception (sold already, right?)

Sandwiched between all the delicious cuisine are informative seminars and workshops hosted by guest speakers and sponsors. The organisers go to every effort to ensure that delegates aren’t hit with sales pitches and the majority of seminars provide great detail on specific topics. Speakers of note include Tania Seary from Procurious (such an influential lady in the procurement space!) and the opening keynote from Martine Wright, 7/7 Survivor and Paralympian (another inspiring female!).

2. Ideal Location
The Westminster area of London is the heart of The City. Surrounded by iconic features such as Big Ben and the London Eye, what better place to host the leading eProcurement technology event?
And, as Market Dojo is headquartered in the idyllic Gloucestershire countryside, the novelty of taking the tube is always enjoyed!

3. FREE! So, why not!
You work in Procurement, spending your days collaborating with suppliers, trying to get the very best product/service for the lowest price. Trained in effective, efficient negotiation, you’ll be delighted to hear that eWorld is in fact FREE for delegates to attend. No haggling on this one, just signup and show up. Of course it does cost you your time, but the ROI is definitely there. You’ll leave feeling inspired with a whole range of extra tools in your procurement toolkit!

4. Atmosphere
From a sponsor’s point of view, there’s a real camaraderie between the neighbouring stands. We normally get the joys of chatting with the lovely team at State of Flux and the guys at Spend 360.

It’s also great to catch up with all the familiar delegate faces that return each year to stay up to date with eProcurement technology.

5. …Market Dojo will be there!
We definitely won’t be missing eWorld this year and we’d love to see you all there. Showcasing our tools focussing on eSourcing, category planning, innovation and, our latest development, our supplier onBoarding tool. Read more about that here.

We’ll be offering live demos on the day to anyone who would like to bring eSourcing in-house and find out how our easy to use, on-demand solution could help them.

For more information on this event, feel free to get in touch with one of us at Market Dojo, or simply register for eWorld on the 2nd March 2016 at the QEII Building, London.
Look forward to seeing you there. Make sure you pop by and say hello!

Anya McKenna
anya.mckenna@marketdojo.com
+44(0)117 318 2537
+44(0)792 337 6307
www.marketdojo.com

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

The Trials and Tribulations of a Software-as-a-Service Company

Market Dojo provides an eSourcing solution based entirely in the cloud. And whilst we boast all the benefits of being a Saas company, such as pay per use pricing and delivery, instant access, and the ability to try the software before committing to a purchase, it would be beneficial to explain what exactly SaaS really means.

To do this, we involved the help of our knowledgeable partner Kelly Barner at Buyers Meeting Point. Myself (Anya) and Nick had a chat with  Kelly to discuss what makes SaaS different to cloud computing, how we benefit from working with our SaaS suppliers and how users can benefit from working with us.

Check out the Blog Talk Radio above and get in touch if you have any questions. How do you best utilise SaaS providers? Or maybe you’re part of a SaaS company, what pros and cons have you discovered?

Don’t forget you can always sign up (free) and check out the benefits of a SaaS eSourcing tool. Feel free to get in touch for more info:

Anya McKenna
Marketing Manager
Market Dojo
anya.mckenna@marketdojo.com
+44(0)117 318 2537
+44(0)792 337 6307

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com in Share

Bringing the ‘e’ into ‘eSourcing’

You are an experienced procurement professional. You have been completing tenders via phone and email since 2001.

When you need a quote, you simply pick up the phone, call your suppliers, get a few prices and go with whichever one can deliver first. Sometimes you find yourself asking; is this the most profitable way of operating? Is there a better way of working which could allow me to include more suppliers? If I want to find out what was paid and from whom the last time I bought a specific item, do I have to scroll through hundreds of emails to find out? Your current way is clunky and frustrating at times, but that’s just how it’s done… or is it?

One day, you leap up from your desk and cry ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! There must be another way.’, after plugging ‘eSourcing software’ into Google, you go in search of a more simple, more accountable way of sourcing what you need. Due to the easy to adopt, pay as you host SaaS Model offered, you opt for Market Dojo.
After signing up for free on the site, you log in and head to the Sandpit to create your first eTender. But what is all this jargon? Your comfort blanket of ignorance has been removed and now you have to learn a whole new world of terms and phrases, varying processes, different types of auctions, and strategies to make your event successful. Quite overwhelming really? Nope.

The Market Dojo team are a kind breed and want to make the transition from prehistoric tendering to suave eSourcing as smooth as possible.

Not only have we made our system really easy to adopt for yourselves and your suppliers, all of the fields which may cause confusion are marked with an ‘i’, when you hover over this, you are provided with in-depth details of  what it means. If you’re still feeling bamboozled, we have also provided you with a wealth of resources and videos which you can access for free after registering on the site.

Our resources really allow you to get to grips with how the tool works. From demystifying jargon to providing you with templates for uploading lots, the resource page is a great means of finding out what you need to know. And you can access them in your own time, for free.

With over 30 video tutorials, divided into supplier support and participant advice, you can really find out all you need to know without even having to pick up the phone. If your suppliers get confused, you have a host of knowledge at your finger tips ready to pass on.
The video by the students at University of Gloucester sums up this blog post nicely:

Before you know it, you’ve signed up to Market Dojo (Did I mention it’s free?), watched a couple of tutorials, created 3 RFQs, a PPQ and a £10,000,000 auction on stationery, all ready to go live once you purchase your licence. You’ve done it all by yourself, without having to arrange any meetings with the Market Dojo team, no complicated supplier webinars across differing time zones. And if you did need to ask for help, you can always pop us a question on live chat where one of the very knowledgeable team can offer you some light consultancy advice.

Well, what are you waiting for? Head over to our site, check out our resources for yourself and make the easy move to eSourcing.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

AND THE WINNER IS…

At eWorld on Tuesday 3rd March, visitors that came to our stand entered their businesses cards into our prize draw to be in with a chance of winning one Market Dojo Licence, encompassing an ENTIRE MONTH of full access to Market Dojo for one user with a value of £500!

At the end of the day, I pulled the lucky card from our jar (as you can see from the video featuring Alun and myself).

And so, our winner is…

…. Zael Prestel from Barclays bank! CONGRATULATIONS Zael! We hope you enjoy using our eSourcing software and can’t wait to see how your first eAuction goes!

If you entered our competition and unfortunately were not succesful, there will be another opportunity to win a license on 22nd September when we return to eWorld. So make sure you pop by the stand and say hello!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

5 Security Questions to ask your SaaS provider

When evaluating Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions one of the most important things to consider is security.

Our customers usually ask about security as part of their evaluation process.  We thought it would be interesting to compile our list of the top 5 questions to ask. When using a SaaS solution your information will pass through several systems.  Your data will be passed from an application front end (often a web browser), across the Internet to a server in a data centre where it will be stored. Each step in the process has risks associated with it. Each risk has precautions that should be used to mitigate it.

1. What security features are built into the application?
The provider should be able to explain how the authentication (to identify who a user is) and authorization (to identify what a user is allowed to see) systems work within their application.
They should also be able to explain what audit systems are in place, so that there is a way to determine how changes to your data occurred.

They should also be able to give details of how they perform Quality Assurance (QA) to test the security of the application.

2. How is communication across the Internet secured?
Any sensitive data should be transferred using the https rather than http protocol.  This guarantees that your data cannot be intercepted and understood by a third party.  The https protocol requires use of an SSL certificate from a provider such as Thawte.  SSL Security costs are a small price to pay in order keep your data secure.

3. How secure is our data on your servers?
Using a SaaS provider usually means that your data will be held in a location that is not under your direct control. The provider should be able to give assurances about the standard of security they adhere to. This information should include:
• What system testing is performed to ensure the data is secure?
• How do you track who has access to our data?
• What policies and procedures are in place to ensure that data is disposed of securely?
• What physical controls are there to limit access to the datacentre where your data is held?
• Where is my data physically held?

You should be aware of what data privacy laws exist in the country where your data is held; and your company may have rules around what data can leave the country.

4. What accreditations do you have?
Accreditations show that the provider takes security seriously, and have been audited by a 3rd party.

There is a range of accreditations relating to the security standards in place. For example, ISO 27001 for Security Management and ISO 20000 for Service Management, BS25999 for Business Continuity and Data Recovery. You can also ask about what other customers they have which may require a high level of security, for example the UK Government give services a ranking according to how secure the data they are cleared to hold.

5. What is your Disaster Recovery Plan?
Although we hope a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan never has to be carried out, it is important that one is in place. Understanding the DR plan ensures you can assess the potential impact on your business.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

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