It was a courageous step that no one had yet dared to take in this form. Instead of a secret recipe, we’ll have an open house. Every day. We stand against the black box that is common in so many companies by disclosing our source codes. Of course, not entirely unselfishly.
The “open source” strategy creates a classic win-win situation: We have effectively 250 additional employees on the customer side—our open platform is our USP. By publishing our source code, every new customer brings with them a new development team to work on the platform and continue to optimize it. This was the case, for example, with our large customer EnBW. The open architecture is our recipe for success. In this article, I explain how powercloud’s shared economy platform works, why it is so promising, and the pricing model behind it.
One for all and all for one: Shared Economy for product optimization
The powercloud SaaS solution provides the energy-efficient engine room for the utility industry. It maps all relevant regulatory processes, including market communication and billing. The solution is 100% cloud-based, and the digital core is the same for all customers. Basically, the architecture is open and the solution can be freely extended by anyone via interfaces and by using the event system. However, it is our goal, together with our customers, to constantly improve and expand the functionality. If a new requirement is not customer-specific and fits well with our overall strategy, we will incorporate the customer’s developments into the core, including maintenance. The approach follows the Sharing Economy principle. This means that when a customer implements a requirement, all users benefit from the solution. This allows everyone to contribute their expertise and to benefit from the fact that the community rounds off the result.
The community principle described above, in combination with the disclosure of the platform source code, is a unique selling point in the industry and enables all parties involved to grow particularly quickly and cost-effectively and to offer new solutions. With this approach, we are socializing the IT industry: we bring software providers and users together and let both parties benefit from the cooperation. The migration of the energy company EnBW from the SAP IS-U used for sales to powercloud, which was completed in 2019, meant that the teams from the individual departments of the utility company worked with us on the platform. Working with this principle, with every new customer we gain an external development team.
“Fair enough”: the pay-per-use principle as a pricing model
Our pricing model is based strictly on the pay-per-use principle, which is typical of the Cloud. In doing so, we charge monthly on a fair and transparent basis per active contract. This means that customers pay only for contracts that actually earn them money. This means that, compared to existing alternatives, there are no expenses for “indirect use” or costs per user. With our solution, we are aiming for an average cost-to-serve of 10 euros per contract, per year. Our entry threshold of 5,000 contracts is very low by industry standards. This means that our platform does not explicitly target only the large companies. Small and medium-sized companies, such as municipal and community services, can also participate in this open platform.
For the startups among our customers, we even offer entry with just 2,500 contracts in the first year. Depending on the size of the customer developments and the extent of the customer’s own contribution, there are also options to compensate for expenses by discounting the licenses for a period of time. Even if powercloud decides not to include a module in the core, the effort will not be in vain: companies have the opportunity to offer their own solutions in the powerApp store. Successful examples of this approach include power Analytics to create power BI-based analyses and reports, as well as chargecloud to manage and bill e-charging stations.
Published: it-daily.net | 03/13/2020 | www.it-daily.net/it-management/software-development/23713-teilen-statt-besitzen-mit-offenen-sourcecodes-zum-erfolg