Cloud Ecosystem IllustrationPosted: April 27, 2011
The emergence of the cloud is changing the underlying fabric of vendor ecosystems. In the past vendor ecosystems were split into product/vertical based communities and sub-communities. Partners were managed by Partner Account Managers and from a 10,000 foot perspective looked like a cart wheel. The cloud is adding another dimension.
As an example, a Dynamics offering would naturally belong to the Dynamics community and would be serviced by the Dynamics community portal (http://community.dynamics.com). Within that community the solution could have a Public Sector focus. However, if it is cloud based, then the ISV also belongs to the larger Azure Application Marketplace and the community that the marketplace implies. With time marketplaces will mature from mere product catalogues to eCommerce sites and take on social networking aspects. Hence the next phase in eCommerce evolution, which is Social Commerce.
Additionally the ecosystem is impacted by the shifting role of distributors, LARs and tier one strategic partners. Strategic vendor partners (like Intuit) are forming their own market places. ISVs develop solutions that integrate with both vendor core solution stacks bridging the ecosystems. Distributors and LARs (like Ingram) are shifting roles to become cloud solution aggregates and again forming their own marketplaces. Distributors and LARs offering solution bundles from multiple clouds, logically bridging through them even competing cloud platform and infrastructure vendors. Vendors do not have the ability to integrate with other vendor ecosystems due to varying interests and competitive settings, but main stream social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, do not have the same constraints. This is why vendor communities should utilize features, such as Facebook login identity, for unified access and data integration even across competing ecosystems.
I’ve now had this discussion with two ISVs this week alone. In operationalizing one’s cloud strategy the ISV needs to be mindful what ecosystems and communities they need to be present in. ecosystem/community placement is based on market segmentation. Each ecosystem and community will require a slightly personalized value articulation. That value will be measured against the ecosystem value pyramid (see below), for each ecosystem and community that ISV becomes a part of.