Signs of an Last Generation SaaS Product

Continuing with the post The Next Generation Competitor to Every Public SaaS Company, one of the questions that came up is how to identify when a SaaS product has entered “incumbent mode” and shows signs that there’s room for new upstarts. Good question. We’ve all used a product that’s solid, but unchanged for many years, and know that it’s a last generation product.

Here are a few signs of a last generation SaaS product:

  • Pace of Innovation – New features come to a halt. Product polishing continues but substantial new features are rare. The focus is on profitably scaling sales and marketing.
  • User Interface / User Experience – Interface changes are disruptive and avoided. Newer UI/UX conventions, and tools like an Angular/React, aren’t a priority.
  • Contract Terms / Flexibility – Longer term contracts are required. Renewal details aren’t negotiable. The position of strength is flexed.

A last generation product readily shows its age. Staying up-to-date with a modern UI/UX and feature set is much harder than it looks. As companies grow and scale, continuing what’s proven takes precedence over innovation.

What else? What are some other signs of a last generation SaaS product?

One thought on “Signs of an Last Generation SaaS Product

  1. I think three other features of the most successful SaaS companies are:

    – MSAs that include data co-op provisions from the beginning to enable benchmarking and non-competitive data sharing
    – Products that use APIs to solve the entire business problem of particular function (lead gen, sales ops, HR, etc) by either 1) being a system of record like Salesforce 2) being a middleware layer like Segment or Liveramp or 3) easily integrating with other systems of record
    – Products that make upgrading (account expansion), onboarding, and in-app customer success (churn reduction) first classes citizens

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