From Flea Market to Boutique: Business Cloud Marketplaces Reflect the Goals of Providers.

Business cloud marketplaces differ significantly from one another, in target market, terms and conditions, and user-friendliness. In this analysis, Stratecast reviews leading business cloud marketplaces, assessing how each reflects the provider’s own strategic goals and positioning.

Executive Summary

The number of business cloud marketplaces is rising, as providers of cloud, communication, and managed services launch sites for their customers to easily purchase and manage business software.

Successful marketplaces will bring value to all three stakeholders:

– Enterprises benefit from convenient access to a catalogue of relevant software from multiple vendors, often with centralized management and billing.

– Independent software vendors (ISVs) benefit from low-investment reach into a highly qualified target market.

– The service provider benefits from greater customer retention and upsell opportunities, as customers use the provider’s services for a greater percentage of their software purchases.

While all business cloud marketplaces function as eCommerce sites, the sites themselves vary considerably based on the goals of the provider. Some target developers or IT professionals with catalogues of developer tools; others target business managers, and even end users, with commercial software. Some marketplaces welcome any application that meets basic technical requirements; others impose a highly rigorous vetting process. Some marketplace providers continue to support their customers’ software purchases after the transaction is complete; others hold the ISV at arm’s length. Furthermore, the investment required by ISVs ranges widely, as marketplace fees can include some or all of the following: listing fees, per-sale commissions, security testing fees, and revenue sharing.

In this analysis, Stratecast reviews the marketplaces of six leading service providers: Amazon Web Services, Comcast, Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, and Salesforce. We also examine the marketplace technology platform offered by AppDirect.

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