Build or Buy on a Higher Level

It’s common to see "build or buy" — or even "build, buy or rent" — being used as a taxonomy for any number of elements of an application, from the database handling functions up to the core function libraries behind compute-intensive logic. As enterprise developers turn their focus toward global cooperation in networked partner ecosystems, the build/buy question starts to apply to entire business tasks and not just to the layers of the application stack: hence the relevance of "Salesforce to Salesforce" integration as new connective tissue for strategic applications.

What made me think about this today was a comment by "serial entrepreneur" Mitchell Ashley, CEO and Chief Strategist of Converging Network LLC, in a blog post this week that said

If you are around the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry long, you quickly figure out that moving software out of the data center and into the cloud makes partnering a critical skill for vendors. No one vendor has all the cloud-friendly solutions you need today, whereas solutions for our traditional enterprise are a-plenty. Vendors in the age of hosted applications, SaaS services and utility computing and storage are putting their partnering skills to the test…

My personal opinion is that the longevity of many SaaS vendors will be directly determined by how [effective] they are at developing a strong partner ecosystem and then working to help foster and enable that ecosystem. Frankly, startup companies tend to have a natural paranoia that they are building the next better mouse trap and everyone else with a pulse is a competitor. Startups will have to overcome this natural paranoid tendency and quickly learn to develop partner friendly products and learn…core skills to help them be good partners.

Making partner interaction almost literally a click-to-connect proposition helps pave a path of least resistance that leads in a good direction — that is, toward a partner ecosystem directing benefits to all participants.

Published
March 28, 2008
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