Awesome to see that, fresh after the British Telecom move into creating a SaaS aggregation platform, Telstra has done similarly for Australia. The idea is that the platform will include applications from the major international players as well as offerings from smaller local companies.
Telstra is targeting SMEs with the platform. The move is a double win for SaaS;
- It introduces SaaS to businesses that otherwise would not utilise it. Telcos already have eyeballs, those eyeballs will now be exposed to SaaS
- It allows new local entrants to get a step up, helped by both the credibility and exposure of the telco, but also from the credibility of the larger SaaS companies taking part in the platforms
This is a logical move for a Telco – they’re generally not nimble enough to create their own SaaS offerings, but what they arguably do execute well is large scale technology platforms. These sorts of SaaS aggregation locations are a natural fit for a Telco’s core competencies.
What will be really interesting will be to see how much vendors sitting on these platforms sell in comparison to their more direct sales. Is the increased turnover and exposure that comes from these moves worth the hit in margin that these deals invariably cost? Or put another way, how does the cost of direct sales compare to the revenue cost through being a part of these platforms?