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August 18, 2015

Cloud software bundle of nerves? Or joy!

Kimble Applications CEO Sean Hoban maps the parallels between the world of cloud software suites and the paying for programme bundles from the cable and satellite TV industry

By CBR Staff Writer

Have you ever subscribed to a cable or satellite TV provider? It used to be the case in the UK that we had just the five ‘terrestrial’ channels, comparatively recently joined by a few more ‘freeview’ ones. What this meant was that satellite/cable was your only hope of getting to see a wider selection of TV, especially sport and films.

But there was a problem with that too: you couldn’t just pick the channels you wanted from your cable/satellite provider’s a la carte menu, you had to buy preconfigured bundles. No flexibility at all. So if I had a particular interest in spaghetti westerns, and my provider had a channel that aired only those, I couldn’t just subscribe to that channel: I had to buy a whole bundle of movie channels and sports channels to get access to that one thing I wanted. And of course I’d be paying for all the stuff I never watched.

This one-size-fits-all approach, based on customer profiling means the majority of people who watch Spaghetti Westerns are men of a certain age and socio-economic status, are also highly likely to be into their sports as well. Just not me, or a minority like me and we were left with no alternative.

Well guess what? High-speed broadband Internet came along, as well as fibre, and ubiquitous WiFi and 4G networks. These paved the way for TV on demand services , and since then, smart TVs have made their entrance. They’ll soon be ubiquitous too, and when you can just subscribe to Netflix or other Video on Demand or Over The Top content providers for less than the cost of most of the cable/satellite providers, and watch anything you like whenever you damn well please. So, the bundles are now disappearing already, with quality and flexibility being the new name of the game. I can now consume what I want, where I want, over whatever device I want, and basically just tailor-make my own 24/365 TV schedule, should I have a mind to. TV is truly on demand and the power is in the hands of the customer.

The same thing’s happening with PSA (Professional Services Automation) software on the Cloud. Once upon a time, there was no choice: you bought whatever bundle (software suite) the big software companies wanted to sell you, or you went without. Maybe it was right for you, maybe it wasn’t – and maybe it was right for parts of your organisation but not others. Regardless: tough luck! There was no alternative because different suppliers’ software didn’t play nicely together.

However, take a look at Salesforce’s Force.com Cloud platform today,: it’s the Internet in this analogy, levelling the playing field for everyone, customer and developer. Sure, you can still buy a software suite (subscription to cable/satellite), but why would you? Software suites on the Cloud are quite simply a clunky solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. You can design your own back-office infrastructure that suits your many and particular requirements perfectly, safe in the knowledge everything will play nicely together.

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