Written by Paul Tebbs Account Manager
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10 Jun 2019  |  Guide

Got a Frankenstack? Why Piecemeal Isn’t Scalable When Selling Software Online

5 minute read

You’ve got a stack. Don’t we all? The problem is, you’ve added so many different layers to your SaaS solution to sell software online - lots of gradual, partial measures - that you now find yourself with a behemoth of a stack. It takes a lot of time and energy to maintain to keep everything ticking over just right and it’s all getting a bit much. Never fear: there are ways to continue to deliver great service to your customers without having to look after your Frankenstack creation.

Why you have a Frankenstack

A good SaaS company builds a full customer journey for its users. You want to provide an amazing experience for the people buying your software - and rightly so. The issue is, offering your customers a great experience means juggling a lot of processes. You need to handle, to name but a few:

  • Sales tax in every region you sell to.
  • A variety of payment gateways.
  • Subscription payments and the enablement of easy plan upgrades.
  • Access management.
  • Fulfillment and the sending of receipts and invoices.
  • Analytics to further your company’s growth.

The result of piecing all these elements together? A stack that requires building and then maintaining in the background to make your solution work. It’s messy and exhausting… but you can do it indefinitely, right?

Why your piecemeal solution isn’t scalable

When there are ways to solve this piecemeal problem, why waste precious time taming the beast when you can be focusing your effort on growing your SaaS business?

It’s unlikely your stack will stand the test of growth. Let’s look at why your Frankenstack is getting in the way…

There’s no single source of data

It can be difficult to find consistent data points across the different elements of your stack when trying to consolidate your data. When you have a solution in place to handle billing, taxes and all the other things involved when you sell software online, it’s much easier to join the data, with at least one data point consistent between data sets.

With a piecemeal solution, it’s unlikely that data will be laid out in a standardized way, meaning you spend a lot of time and effort transposing this data just so that all the elements of your stack speak the same language.

“it isn’t a valuable use of your time focusing on increasing security around your stack when you could be scaling your business”

There are security risks & potential compliance issues

The more platforms you have in your stack, the more data you need to manage and govern. Of course, big and reputable platforms should be secure, but with big data breaches of enterprise companies having taken place in the recent past, security should still be a big consideration.

It’s important to be aware that it’s not just storing, cleaning and analyzing data that’s difficult, it’s also crucial to ensure that sensitive data is - and remains - restricted to those at the top of an organization who have clearance to access it. Every touchpoint is vulnerable to data breach - and there’s no escaping the fact that a piecemeal solution involves many more touchpoints. ICSA: The Governance Institute describes the piecemeal approach as a “major obstacle to mitigating cyber risk”, stressing the risks surrounding companies that have “built siloed systems and bolted on parts of their network”.

It isn’t wise to have sensitive data sitting in too many systems. It not only makes it infinitely more difficult to ensure data is being handled in accordance with GDPR and privacy best practices, it also means you’re taking up valuable time focusing on increasing security around your stack when you could be scaling your business.

The pains of interconnection and stack management

Piecing together and managing your stack is no mean feat. There are a lot of steps to assembling your piecemeal solution, from researching and comparing platforms and running proof of concept to learning the new tool, integrating it into your workflow and - fingers crossed - syncing it with your other platforms.

Sell Software Online

It’s a lot to deal with, especially if you’re adding a new platform (such as a platform handling subscription management) to your stack to support a new product. As with your day-to-operations, a new product launch should see your team’s time and effort spent on marketing and the product itself, not tinkering with your backroom systems.

You need to make sure you’re set up on every platform to provide a seamless experience for your customers. For example, if you’re wanting to offer different types of payment methods, you’ll likely need a merchant account for each of those. Then there’s the unenviable task of getting these platforms to speak to each other, which will very likely take up a lot of developer resources and therefore a lot of time and money. In short, if you’re wanting to focus on building your product and business and engaging your customers, you’ll probably need to hire experts to piece it all together.

Sell software online without the hassle of maintaining your stack

Replacing your piecemeal problem with an all-in-one solution does away with the headache of maintaining your stack. Enter the answer: a platform that takes care of billing, subscription management, taxes and much more so that you can focus your time and energy on giving your customers a great experience with your product.

Paddle takes care of all the backroom work. As a Merchant of Record, we sit between you and your customers, making billing a breeze. You can shell out big bucks for all of the different platforms that are required to create your checkout, or you can have Paddle handle everything for you.

We take full liability for taxes, mitigating the risk to your company, checking that everything is compliant for all of your sales whether at home or across borders. Some startups don’t think that tax authorities have any interest in their new business, but this couldn’t be more wrong - it’s in your interest to be compliant (to avoid those penalty fines and if you ever plan on selling your business!).

Merchant of Record

As a Merchant of Record, we offer your customers a variety of different payment methods through which to purchase your product. We also support subscription payments, helping your SaaS company provide a great payment experience for your customers by offering upgrades between plans with one easy click. We handle refunds directly and offer invaluable insights with our powerful analytics and marketing tools so you can focus on scaling, not stack management.

Wave goodbye to your Frankenstack. Request a demo with Paddle today.

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