Next Generation of Cloud Business Models, Part 2


I’ve been thinking more about this during the last few days and especially about the role of cloud computing in next generation social business models. Real just announced their cloud play at CES. The idea being an iTunes type service where your content resides in a cloud from where you can access it using any device. So there is another ‘cloud value’, but how is this cloud when you could as easily have the content in a hosted virtual storage that otherwise doesn’t support multitenant architectures. But Real got me thinking…

In an earlier blog I wrote that cloud offerings should be:

a) Multitenanted

b) Should integrate with other content providers in the cloud to provide greater value

c) Use the power of the community and have user generated value elements

Now to this list I’d add that a cloud solution should:

d) Provide universal access

So what could such a solution look like? Applications can be multitenant for efficiency and that adds value. Applications can generate or access media/information that is either user or vendor generated. Media and information have monetary value. Could we take any software product and take their business model through logical thought process to spin them into a next generation social business in the cloud?

Let’s play around with this. If we had a on premise CRM solution. The solution served a vertical niche and that was their justification for existing in a highly competitive market. Now if we take that CRM and we re-architect it support multiple tenants, then we would achieve some efficiency gains. We could migrate into a cloud for scalability and deploy ability, which would be vendor benefits. For the customer it would be universally accessible, scalable and probably less costly. As a vendor we could sell vertical lists (like Salesforce with Jigsaw) and have the CRM prepopulated with a base set of contacts… this would be vendor (purchased) generated content. Or we could allow our tenants to trade contacts as Jigsaw does. Enabling trading of contacts is a step towards building a community around the solution, but what else could the community trade. Analyst papers, links to industry news, product reviews, etc. How about benchmark data on average deal size, sales cycle and demand trending?

Are there any additional data sets that the CRM could integrate into? More contact data bases? eCommerce portals for add on sales… expand your product portfolio from other community vendor offerings.

OK, sanity check time. Most verticals are highly competitive and vendors would not want to share or trade. What about within an auto manufacturer’s reseller chain? Would dealers share amongst each other? What about state and local governments?

Would the CRM vendor have a higher valuation because of the community/communities? Could they charge a facilitation fee for brokering transactions?

I will take this concept over the next few articles and try it out on a number of other hypothetical scenarios.

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