Monday, March 25, 2013

PaaS Lessons Learned


A few years ago there was an industry darling called Coghead. It was proclaimed by pundits as "the next wave".  It failed, and when it failed it took many partners that had invested millions in products based on the platform with it.  One of those partners wrote about the failure in his blog.  You can read it here.

Since O4BO and our partner WorkXpress offer a Platform as a Service similar on the surface to what Coghead offered, I think it worthwhile to go over the reasons for the failure and our measures to learn from and address those issues:

  1. The Economy - Coghead was depending on Investors for operating capital and as the economy went into recession, some of those investors backed out, stranding Coghead.  O4BO and WorkXpress are NOT leveraged as heavily and we do NOT depend on continuing investor dollars for our operations.
  2. A blurred line between development tool and platform - O4BO uses the IBM SmartCloud for a much more reliable Infrastructure and deployment platform.  The WorkXpress Platform as a Service is also mature and completely Cloud based.  O4BO also offers Integration as a Service such that any application can be deployed and integrated into our subscriber's solutions.
  3. He said, she said. Coghead’s messaging was schizophrenic - One thing that is constant is change and as things change the messaging changes as well.  All we can do is be aware and not to promise too much that is future based.
  4. Who is our Customer?  Coghead couldn't decide.  We know that our customer is first and foremost the Small to Medium sized Business that needs business oriented software at a n affordable price, plus the ability to customize that software easily.  
  5. Whatever happened with the Coghead Gallery? Coghead promised a Gallery of applications built by its partners but never delivered.  O4BO and WorkXpress already have that and since O4BO uses Liferay, our ISV partners will be able to list their applications for sale to our other subscribers easily.  
  6. The case of the mysterious disappearing employees - I think this is a symptom of the heavily leveraged operating capital.  The turn over of both O4BO and WorkXpress personnel is almost nil.
  7. Don’t volunteer your customers and partners to do your QA.  Simply put, both O4BO and WorkXpress have a mature product lifecycle process and you can count on getting tested solutions.
  8. Make Money With Coghead. This relates to #4 and knowing who the customer is makes all the difference.  Yes we welcome people that want to integrate and sell to our subscribers, but we are NOT depending on that to be our customer base.
  9. You hang me out to dry.  Here is where O4BO and WorkXpress will prove to shine.  O4BO offers Open Source software solutions that are completely portable.  If O4BO goes out of business all our subscribers will be able to take their software and data and leave and run someplace else, perhaps with fewer capabilities but certainly not completely gone like Coghead.  WorkXpress can also be deployed to any cloud and run independently in the case of WorkXpress demise.  Together your investment is secure.
Treff LaPlante, CEO or WorkXpress says, "Most all businesses need a mix of off the shelf and custom software to run efficiently.  One of the biggest drawbacks of PaaS as a standalone solution is that the off the shelf products built on most PaaS are less mature than SaaS competitors.  O4BO is bringing mature top quality pre-built solutions coupled with the best no-code PaaS on the planet for customization, and that is exactly what most businesses need to run efficiently".

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