Basware in 2013 Transistion to Software as a Service

By Robert Burgelman, Debra Schifrin
2014 | Case No. SM219 | Length 40 pgs.

In 2013 Basware, the Finland-based e-invoice operator and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software vendor, was going through a large and critical transition: moving from selling and installing licensed software to selling Software as a Service (SaaS). Basware, which sold automated Purchase-to-Pay solutions for Business-to-Business to 2,000 Nordic and global clients, was responding to a sharp decline in those sales in the previous few years; more and more customers were switching to competitors that offered SaaS. (With SaaS, vendors stored a client’s data in an external server or in the cloud, and maintained the software and relevant hardware.) Transitioning to SaaS required the €114 million company simultaneously to transform its strategy, business model, technology and culture; and the change process was bumpy. SaaS customers paid as they used services, rather than upfront as they did with the licensed software and installation business; that difference had an immediate negative impact on Basware’s revenue stream. The company’s new SaaS technology would be best in breed when it was complete, but it was taking longer than expected to be ready. Basware also needed to reorganize as a global organization, its sales people needed to be retrained or transitioned out, and its culture needed to adjust to match these rapid changes. At the same time, Basware’s e-invoice operator business was booming. In 2013, there were an estimated 63 million transactions across the Basware Commerce Network, and the company expected to hit 150 million transactions by the end of 2015. Speed was the name of the game for Basware, as each transaction brought in money and because the network’s size was Basware’s competitive advantage. Although the software and e-invoicing businesses were two separate businesses, they were synergistic. The more customers moved from paper to e-invoicing, the more they would be able to use the full functionality of Basware’s automated software solutions.

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