Responding to Questions About SaaP: Which Categories are Next?

independent workers

I love to receive comments and questions here at Spend Matters, and I was delighted recently to receive some excellent ones on my article “IQNavigator and iTeam Partnership Bringing Service-as-a-Product to a Business.” Following up on my response to the first of 3 questions about service-as-a-product (SaaP), today I tackle the implications for categories.

Question 2: SaaP and Categories

Which categories will be next to become productized?

Certainly, this a tough prediction to make, but one could think through what kinds of categories could be addressed with a SaaP model. It might be hard to predict what comes next, but one might get a better idea of what could be possible.

To date, the kinds of services that have been rendered under SaaP models have included: executing field service tasks of different kinds, such as complex IT activities and simple directions like go to a location, take a photo and upload it; producing creative outputs, such as writing or graphics; performing translations of texts or doing transcriptions of written or spoken texts at price per word; doing software testing; completing certain standard legal services; and some others.

However, it seems that any service that could be produced, represented and delivered as a standardized output could be a candidate for a SaaP model, provided it could be executed by contingent workers engaged through an online network. So when you start to think about it, you begin to realize there are many services that cannot be produced and delivered in this way. But you also realize – stretching your imagination a bit – there are potentially surprising use cases. I find myself thinking about telemedicine and doctors – a service platform called MDLIVE recently raised $50 million in funding, on top of an earlier $23 million.

mdlive

Now MDLIVE may be a consumer service and may not be, properly speaking, SaaP – though a standard online visit does have a unit price of $49 – but it does make you think about the possibilities. Medical services already have their own service taxonomy and are routinely broken down into procedures and priced per unit. What’s more, hospitals and clinics already farm out standard services, such as sending an MRI to remote contract radiologists for a reading. So one can see how, with some adjustments to the platform and the configuration of processes and workforce, at least some medical services might be supportable through a SaaP model.

Which services will be the next ones to be productized under a SaaP model? Hard to say. But is there the potential for many more? Definitely yes.

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