Rebuilt for speed, Saasu changes gear to high-impact releases

Responds to critics of development focus.

Cloud accounting company Saasu had finished rebuilding its foundations to scale up to 1 million users and was ready to begin rolling out a new interface and focus more on marketing, Saasu’s CEO Marc Lehmann announced on the company blog.

Lehmann’s post, which detailed how the software company had prioritised developing the mechanics of its software, addressed criticism that Saasu had not been keeping up with competitors.

“One criticism we have been receiving lately is that we have slowed development in recent quarters. We haven’t at all, instead it’s just like the tip of the iceberg. The development activity isn’t about the screens you see – 90 percent of our activity has been below the surface,” Lehmann said.

“We have been prepping for a major change in our user interfaces. We need to ensure that below the surface we are engineered for performance and capacity.”

Saasu had hired a chief marketing officer to lift the 10-year-old company’s profile, was about to release its new user interface and had rebuilt the software to handle accelerated growth, Lehmann said. “Essentially we have built Saasu to easily scale to manage 1 million users and not the close to 100,000 we have now. We are not stopping or slowing down, not by a long shot.”

Saasu has been less successful at promoting itself and has released few headline-grabbing updates over the year compared to rival Xero, a less featured accounting program which targeted smaller businesses than Saasu’s traditional market.

Saasu has found a niche with companies that process high volumes of transactions and its larger clients process 10,000 transactions a month. Xero by comparison worked best at up to 1,000 transactions a month, according to the company’s API notes.

Companies were turning to Saasu after outgrowing Xero’s transactional limits, Lehmann said.

“One of Saasu’s objectives is to be a platform that our business clients won’t outgrow. Many of our larger customers are actually with us after leaving MYOB, Quickbooks and more recently Xero. This churn to Saasu is often about capacity and also our business centric focus,” Lehmann said.

Customers tended to use higher-priced plans and Saasu’s revenue has doubled annually despite a substantially lower number of businesses compared to Xero (20,000 to 110,000). Saasu was about to pass the 100,000 user mark, Lehmann said.

“Good to hear about these movements. As a long-term user and friend of your product I was wondering lately what was happening,” commented Leo Gaggl on the Saasu post.

About Sholto Macpherson

Sholto Macpherson is a business technology journalist, consultant and analyst specialising in cloud accounting software.

Sholto is the author of the Macpherson Report, which examines the key technology trends facing accountants in Australia.

He lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

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