The traditional CRM model has always looked somewhat like this:
Sell direct, with a supplemental partner ecosystem also reselling or acting as VARs for the core CRM offering.
But the SaaS concept has changed this model a little bit. Many of the initial SaaS leaders failed to create a channel for various reasons. The multi-tenant model lent little room for profit margins for VARs – since the products are so inflexible. And many SaaS vendors could not be too elastic with pricing with partners due to such expensive back ends.
All that is changing. While every SaaS vendor and their brother claim to be taking advantage of “the cloud,” – we are seeing some channel distribution pop up in various ways when it comes to SaaS.
NEC has just announced a “SaaS applications store” where users can put together SaaS packages from multiple vendors. It is good to see more and more indirect SaaS options – this is the only way the concept will really flourish in my opinion.
I am excited to see how Sugar’s own Data Center Edition (DCE) concept takes off. Cloud Computing may mean a lot of things…but we see the importance of portability in a cloud model. DCE will allow companies to access cost effective, vertical SaaS CRM solutions built on the Sugar platform from various providers. They need not work directly with Sugar and can take advantage of the great industry expertise of our partner ecosystem. What’s most important is that these users can take their CRM with them, as it were, and move it from a partner’s servers to their own, or to another cloud-based infrastructure provider such as Amazon.
I hate to add to the already overusd cliches surrounding the buzzword, but the sky is the limit when it comes to Sugar and Cloud Computing…