approach to software services. The company also is looking at how customers choose
software and services today to
think about the future.
The company has agreements with other niche software providers that allow
HelioScope and other systems. Folsom Labs, for example, recently reached interoperating agreements with
Energy Toolbase and Eco-Tiza. The software systems
remain independent of one
another, and users have separate sign-ins for each, but
the systems play together seamlessly. These agreements are just the “tip of the
iceberg” according to Grana.
“We’ve provided our API
Grana cites as an example the way users today choose IT sys-
tems. They are not necessarily brand loyal across the IT spec-
trum. A user may buy a PC with a Microsoft operating system,
but may choose to use Google Gmail over Microsoft Outlook for
business email. So, too, a user may choose to use Dropbox over
Google Drive for cloud storage, and so on.
In that context, Grana said, there are going to be some users
who want HelioScope for design, fnancial optimization, proposals and CRM, and there will be others who want HelioScope for
design, Energy Toolbase for fnances and Salesforce for CRM.
“We want to have other products — Folsom Labs is going to
have a CRM, and a pricing/proposal tool, but we also 100 percent
want people to choose what they want,” Grana said. “It’s all good.”
Digging Deeper into Customer Choice
Customer choice, it appears, could matter more and more as the
solar design software market grows. Grana says Folsom is look-
ing into the future at a potential “share of wallet” approach, where
they can capture a portion of a customer’s wallet by being a facili-
tator of sorts for additional tools.
This approach can happen in one of two ways.
First, Grana said, Folsom can begin to build
interfaces to logical operations that users might
want. A user, for example, could use an interface
to see what the company’s project pipeline looks
like, or analyze how a sales team is doing.
Second, Folsom sees an opportunity to become a
provider much like the Apple App Store. In the app
buying process, Apple is a facilitator; it is an
important part of the process, while letting other
products, brands or companies maintain a direct
relationship with the customer.
“That’s what we’re going to see with a bunch of
other third-party products in the solar design soft-
ware sector,” Grana said.
Users, for example, could buy — within Helio-
Scope — imagery from a provider, such as Eag-
leView Pictometry or Nearmap.
ADDITIONAL SOLAR DESIGN
PV Complete PVWatts
Aurora Solar Eltropy
HelioScope Energy Toolbase