2nd day keynote. Talk about integration and new cloud based solutions in an “open” environment. Same caveats as yesterday, ignore spelling and grammar, post done on the fly.
Announcement, Blackbaud SKY. API to access Blackbaud products and Azure. Products will have a consistent look and feel in all browsers and on all devices. Access to standard web services using REST APIs. This is a game changing development for Blackbaud products.
Rollout time will be over the next ___ years as products are moved into the cloud environment. NXT is the starting product for cloud integration with the API accessing Azure.
Next speaker is from Microsoft to give us an idea of security, legal and compliance and the partnership between Microsoft and Blackbaud. “You won’t use a tool you won’t trust.” Microsoft is a partner of choice for Blackbaud’s cloud offerings. Compliance for North America and compliance internationally. This certainly fits in with Blackbaud’s desire and ability to sell more products globally. Azure is already industrial strength secure, compliant, scalable and much more.
Cloud based apps from Blackbaud will be more accessible for customers and at some level should help to both lower the cost of ownership over time and help focus on what matters as opposed to tasks like managing servers. Downside is that there will be a move to more homogeneity which may possibly may be more challenging for some larger scale enterprise clients who may need more customizations as opposed to configurations.
A very robust API from Blackbaud to access these services will be critical. At the onset of the release this will likely not be available – so enterprise clients will need to assess the short to medium to longer term viability and monitor how quickly Blackbaud will be able to keep upgrading and enhancing. Note that this will not be anything out of scope for any new products – all take time to implement.
Subscriptions and cloud will fit into Blackbaud’s earnings and shareholder satisfaction – software companies are all moving to subscription based revenue. This helps stabilize earnings and income and will maintain Blackbaud’s share price over time. Cloud based offerings would ideally lower Blackbaud’s cost of ownership and allow a sustained focus on R&D and product enhancement. This is not a cynical view of the company, but a realistic one – as customers we should continue to monitor the % of revenues invested in R&D and hope that this ratio will not decrease, but increase over time.
Blackbaud back on stage. Talk about integrations of software as a service, the ability for clients to use a building-block approach to add those services and functionality much more easily than the current add a module approach.
Announcement. Non-profit Intelligence. Built in BI applications to Blackbaud products. Includes Raiser’s Edge and Financial Edge. Slide showing information combined from Raiser’s Edge and Financial Edge. Integration is already provided. NXT data integrated into Luminate with one consistent user interface in the future.
Blackbaud talks about improved time to value – transforming of user experience to provide essentially more efficiency with how users access systems, processes and how this will save teams energy and efforts. Data health scorecards and other enhancements all within the same consistent user experience. Goal to eliminate upgrades or conversions – Blackbaud’s goal is to make this a frictionless process.
Mobile app. For Goodness Shake. Find non-profits by shaking your phone.
Integrated payment experiences – into all of Blackbaud’s products.
Partners will be a part of Blackbaud’s ecosystem with 68 technology partners today and more than 100 waiting in the wings. Announcement – Blackbaud will be open-sourcing SKY UX. Partners will have access to the API to be able to provide additional products using the same user interface that is available to Blackbaud staff. This will make it easier for contracting with the network of technology partners to enhance Blackbaud’s standard offerings for those customers that have unique needs.
Blackbaud committed to the “APP model” of continuous upgrades. Example given of over 300 upgrades to NXT over the last few months. You will no longer need to care which version you’re on if you’re cloud hosted.
Move towards a single Blackbaud sign on. Idea of a common identity across Blackbaud.Com and Blackbaud products.
All of these announcements sound great, but there’s a long way to go to implement this holistic and unified vision. Over the next year or two, we’ll see more changes within the individual products and the product catalog as a whole. We’ll also have to look at how our licensing will move to subscriptions and how these changes affect our margins.
However the trend is clear – if you’re not considering moving to cloud as your platform – you really should start planning – this is the future. The best is yet to come.