I think the cloud computing industry will borrow some of the best practices of previous generations of tech partnerships to solve today’s revenue sharing challenge. The rapidly evolving cloud environment is creating a new set of supply-chain relationships which will be governed by the same partnering principles of the past, but with a different set of revenue tracking requirements and economic parameters. This means new tools and techniques will have to be employed to automate the monitoring and billing processes so they are cost-effective in this price-competitive market.
via Where is the Revenue Stream in Cloud Computing? – ebizQ Forum.
I’ve read Jeff Kaplan’s comments, and I find this really interesting. Based on your subject, I believe that we are moving in that direction; a cloud computing/SaaS supply chain.
The reason being, small startups that are delivering a new product to the market would have shortcomings, this would then create a need for a third party app to cover for this shortcoming. This will create the need for a basic partnering relationship to form, but the distribution of fees and charges would need to be looked at.
Also with the current cloud computing model, it does make the distribution stage direct to the customer instead (for deployment, and support). This would mainly eliminate the need for resellers and channel partners, and thus change the standard supply chain rule again. This would mean the supply chain would have to accommodate for the cloud structure and evolve as well. As there are no direct rules on interoperability for this at the moment, what you have mentioned on cloud supply chain would be true.
I would like to add that a lot of the SaaS companies out there use API, for interaction between systems, thus eliminating the need for a basic partnership to develop as well. As long as you get the API, you can then integrate specific data to be transferred along.
Unfortunately the cloud supply chain you talk about is often completely invisible to the end-user, and only when a problem occurs, the reality is made visible. The T-mobile outage was a good example of this. As long as end-users do not request transparency about the cloud supply chain, this will continue.
I think you are right, end users won’t care about transparency (as long as their service is working!), but the suppliers themselves will need the ability to measure the costs and productivity at each layer of the stack.