Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Destiny Bertucci, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Jignesh Solanki, Daniel Gordon

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Are You Ready for Change, Competition and Coopetition?

Part 2: No one can predict who will enter the market & how you will need to react, except that you will need to react & quickly

In the last MetraTech blog I introduced you to the Conferencing and Collaboration (C&C) market and highlighted the way in which C&C players uniquely approach the market. I challenged you to think about what was possible if IT didn't have "no" in their vocabulary; to imagine the possibilities of empowering product management teams to conceive of and roll out new services; providing an enterprise sales team with the ability to negotiate tailored agreements with enterprise customers and partners; eliminating the need to worry about how the billing system could turn a tailored agreement based on usage, volume, product type, service bundle, region and just about any other metric into reality. We also discussed in another blog why service providers in so many verticals are unable to think about what might be possible in the present never mind the future. Many are faced with the very real challenge of a billing system that is not able to support their business needs, but the fear and risk associated with change often causes decision paralysis.

Billing software must facilitate the customer selling and partner compensation process. With old world and "lite" recurring billing systems, the billing system becomes an inhibitor for business. For too long, businesses have been a slave to both the systems and the processes they impose. A solution that is designed to satisfy a specific set of industry and technology conditions for a particular time will not support the creativity required to differentiate service offerings. Even simple changes to business models shake the foundational assumptions that drove the initial design. If a billing system cannot incorporate the potential for change as a business evolves, it has failed to do its job. The flexibility to support change as technology, market conditions and business relationships evolve and organizational processes are transformed is the world of Agreements-Based Billing™.

The concept of Agreements-Based Billing although simple in definition is difficult if not impossible to implement with old world billing or recurring/subscription billing systems. Generally, the more sophisticated the enterprise, the more complex the business agreement between the user and the provider. In a growing number of cases across industries, the agreements between the provider and their enterprise customers requires the type of billing solution flexibility that is unique to MetraTech through its metadata approach.

In the C&C market, because so much of the customer relationship process is billing and customer-interaction oriented, the greatest level of flexibility has always been required within the billing and customer portal functions. The continual push for more advanced interactive services also meant that pure play C&C players were implementing business models directed at dynamic customer interaction, well beyond what was being done by providers of traditional voice and data access service offerings. C&C providers understood that what drove loyalty, service stickiness and increased customer satisfaction was not simply a service being made available at the lowest market price.

Today, if you look around, there are usage-based models emerging everywhere. For example, almost all Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions are usage-based. In Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), an increasing number of companies are finding it harder and harder to maintain a single flat subscription price. Cloud billing solutions must support usage components around storage, content and other service-level agreements (SLAs). This goes beyond a flat-rate bundle or even multi-service tier-based customer usage plans, to include significantly more sophisticated behind-the-scenes issues with content consumption and supplier/partner compensation. What price drives people to make purchases of your product or service? Which features increase value? How can you steer customer behavior to drive higher margin services? All of this also increases the need to provide clarity to customers on what they've purchased, what they've consumed and what you are asking them to pay for. We all understand the concept of bill shock.

The C&C market provides a foreshadowing of what it takes to drive services that are sticky, differentiated and relevant in a global business-to-business (B2B) environment. The speed and flexibility in pricing, promotions, discounting and business models that have been important factors in C&C are now critical in just about every service industry:

  • Change, competition and coopetition: no one can predict who will enter the market and how you will need to react, except that you will need to react and quickly. Price and rate changes and subscriptions are a starting point. Differentiation will come from where you go from there.
  • Service differentiation comes from internal innovation around core competency and bundling third-party wrap-around services. Getting off the commoditization path and not letting your billing system dictate your model is critical.
  • The Internet is the most disruptive force in the history of business, opening the door for new business models. Now, businesses must adapt to the new wave - one that is virtual, social and mobile.

These trends create an urgent need for flexibility and adaptability never seen before. Are you ready?

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
"Storpool does only block-level storage so we do one thing extremely well. The growth in data is what drives the move to software-defined technologies in general and software-defined storage," explained Boyan Ivanov, CEO and co-founder at StorPool, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, provided some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacent...
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is b...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the abili...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...