Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Emerging Commerce Cloud

"Cloud" has become a generic designation for all services that take place somewhere online, but most of the initial cloud services have been quite basic: storage and CPU power, for example.  As time goes by, however, cloud services are become more and more specialized and driven by business requirements rather than technology capability.

One new broad set of cloud services that is emerging are commerce services.  Everything needed to build, manage, maintain and optimize and online sales presence is now available without having to buy application software.  And while basic services have long been available to small businesses (think of eBay as the first commerce cloud service) these are now becoming industrial strength and enable substantial customization.

In addition to the core capabilities around selling, the commerce cloud that's emerging now includes a huge range of specialized services including business analytics and optimization.  a good example of this is Upstream Commerce, which helps companies optimize the pricing of their products.  Historically, pricing management and optimization was a very specialized skill, now it's available as a web service.

Instant Visibility to Pricing Competition - Form the Upstream Website

It's not year clear what the pricing is for solutions like this, but it's the ability to assemble an integrated online sales environment, complete with analytics is shifting from a million dollar+ investment down to a monthly service fee.

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