Software Pulse

Business Strategy for Software Executives

April 11, 2005

The Marriage of ROI and SLA

Tom Pisello

Software vendors can meet their customers' needs and improve their own revenue potential by utilizing a ROI SLA.

By Tom Pisello, CEO, Alinean

Pressure is high for CIOs and IT executives to deliver rock-solid IT strategies on smaller budgets. As a result, enterprises have an extremely low tolerance for project failure or spending that falls short of expectations. This sets the stage for a closer, more fruitful, relationship with vendors in helping companies reduce the risks and maximize the rewards from every IT investment.

One way to bring about this relationship is to use the service level agreement (SLA) - long valued as a tool for guaranteeing availability and responsiveness - as a way to ensure that a return on investment is achieved. Under this model, vendors partner with their customers to ensure ROI goals are realized, and tie their financial compensation to the achievement of key benefits.

Software 2005 Just 3 Weeks Away!

Momentum is building behind the industry's largest vendor-neutral gathering: Software 2005, April 26 and 27 in Santa Clara, Calif. With 7 great keynotes, 4 compelling panels, 60+ actionable breakout sessions, and 2,000+ CEOs, VPs and VCs to meet, you won't find a better opportunity to network with peers and learn what's on the mind of industry leaders. Registration is filling up fast. It costs only $1,195 for yourself, plus two of your executive colleagues to attend - but you must register by April 15. Click here to find out more and click here to register now.

How was Q1?

Now we're into second quarter, how do you think software companies performed during first quarter? Take our pulse poll. In last week's poll, sixty percent of visitors said sales knew customers better than marketing.

Hot Blogs: Open Source, SaaS and Consolidation

Thanks to our insightful bloggers, the blog has received tremendous traffic the past few weeks. Don't miss the final post from Paul Lavallee to the industry consolidation blog of two weeks ago.

This week, the bloggers take on open source: It's taken off within the enterprise but how will enterprise software vendors use open source? Will it be commingled with their own IP? As infrastructure? How will open source change vendor business models? Don't miss the latest thinking on this topic in this week's blog.

Sand Hill Group hosted a webinar on software as a service (SaaS) last Thursday. The event drew more than one hundred participants. Read a recap of the most interesting discussion points in final post to the SaaS blog by K.B. Chandrasekhar.

Learn from Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs

Suzanne McKechnie Klahr left law school to found Build, a group that works with teens to foster business savvy and entrepreneurship. Read Suzanne's story and find out what you can learn about innovation from today's youngest business leaders in this month's Software Personalities.

More at

Read the enterprise software industry news of the week >>

Monitor the latest software venture capital deals >>

Scan the list of last week's software M&As >>

See who's made it to the top in our list of recent software executive appointments >>

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Parting Thought

"They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
— Andy Warhol

Courtesy of Malcolm Kusher, The Kushner Group

Software 2005 Conference


Sun Microsystems

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision - The Network is the Computer - has propelled Sun Microsystems to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Click here to find out more.


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Click here to send us your feedback. is published by Sand Hill Group, which provides investment and management advice to emerging leaders in the $600 billion enterprise software, services and solutions market. Sand Hill Group produces the Software and the Enterprise series of conferences for industry executives, and authors research reports on cutting-edge technology topics. Click here to find out more.