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Opening up and letting go to strengthen market position

Isaac Newton (Bolton, Sarah K. Famous Men of S...

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Two separate pieces of news came my way during the night, and although both were written about elsewhere whilst those of us on this side of the Atlantic slept, they remain worthy of mention; both in their own right and because of the wider trend of which they are part.

First, Cloud Computing provider 3Tera announced their AppStore;

“the first marketplace for cloud components where enterprise users, software vendors and datacenter experts can exchange production-ready, scalable and highly available cloud components on a pay-per-use basis.”

You can listen to my recent podcast with 3Tera’s Bert Armijo, here.

Second, Semantic Technology pioneer AdaptiveBlue’s CEO (and Semantic Web Gang regular) Alex Iskold sent an email to point me at their launch of a new Glue API;

“This new API taps into Glue’s databases and semantic recognition engine enabling fun & useful applications about people and things.”

Both companies recognise that there is a far greater pool of talent outside their employ than inside, and both are seeking to place themselves and their technology at the centre of a scalable ecosystem rather than perpetuating the old fashioned model of supplying solutions. Both recognise, too, that the ’sticky’ destination site is becoming increasingly irrelevant to many of our online behaviours. We want and need functionality, community, reliability and more; but we want it on our terms, delivered in real time at the point of need.

By seeking to build and mediate a critical mass of third party applications, 3Tera is repeating a formula successfully demonstrated by the likes of Apple, Salesforce and others. Partners and developers deliver far more working code than 3Tera’s own developers could manage, and those partners are incentivised to bring their own customer base along with them. 3Tera benefits every time one of these partners makes a sale — for negligible effort on 3Tera’s part — and has an easy route to new customers of its own via its partners. In time, 3Tera’s own AppLogic may even come to increasingly be perceived as no more than an on-ramp to the AppStore’s riches.

AdaptiveBlue’s API extends Glue in an obvious direction, adding to site-independent strengths upon which I have remarked previously.

The world is changing. By embracing the power of networks (both technological and social) and putting others to work on your behalf, companies are increasingly able to punch far beyond their own weight. It is ever-more feasible for small, agile, responsive and engaged organisations to draw upon the resources of others to mutual benefit. As Newton once wrote,

“If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

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Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.