Reaching more OSS customers

In recent weeks, we’ve followed a theme across many blogs here on PAOSS. We’ve looked at a new mode of design, delivery and approach for taking OSS to a much broader market base. The following diagrams demonstrate this new approach visually.

Current OSS Model
Figure 1. above shows the current model, where an OSS vendor sells their tools to CSPs as their customers. There are three layers but negligible ecosystem effects.
Network effect: With this model there is little opportunity to build a network effect. There might be some sharing of knowledge between customers via product forums or customer roadshows, but there are few other compelling reasons for a customer to buy this vendor’s product just because other customers have.
Scale advantages: With this model, there are relatively few customers and they generally want their OSS customised for their own needs, limiting the opportunity to build scale advantages.
Customer’s customers: In this case, the OSS helps to deliver comms services to customers, but self-management is generally limited to simple user portals.
Distribution: Each vendor needs to have a method of sales, marketing, etc to establish strong relationships at customers over broad geographical areas.

Ecosystem OSS Model
Figure 2. above shows a double ecosystem model, where

  • the product is an ecosystem play with the main vendor (dark blue) plus third-party developers (light blue) (ie the Christmas tree model) and
  • the CSP’s OSS (red) delivers a self management, multi-tenanted OSS ecosystem to their customers (pink).

Network effect: The plugin marketplace allows CSPs to pick and choose the functionality they want and if CSPs find a plug-in to be compelling and collaborative in nature then this adds strength to the ecosystem / marketplace in turn.
Scale advantages: The multi-tenancy, self-management ecosystem allows CSPs to offer OSSaaS (OSS as a Service) to their customers. This delivers OSS licences to a much broader “consumer” customer-base but also a more standardised OSS model than current approaches.
Customer’s customers: End consumers not only purchase comms services from their CSPs but OSSaaS to monitor and manage the comms services that their electronic business models rely upon.
Distribution: Third party developers and integrators help to overcome the challenges of each vendor servicing a widespread customer base. Also, by the CSP selling the OSSaaS to their customers, they’re also selling the vendor’s OSS tools.

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