Can an IT services provider use technical support as a mechanism to educate and transfer knowledge to its customers, and in turn increase its revenues? My first research article, which I summarize in this post, finds that technical support has a very significant impact on customers’ demand for the service. In particular, cloud infrastructure customers who have the opportunity of learning from their provider consume more of the service, are able to make a better use of it (e.g., deploy horizontally scalable infrastructures), and do not forget, at least not quickly, what they have learned.
Developing software is difficult. We may have the best developers in the world, the most agile development processes, and the best coding tools available, and it will continue to be difficult. This is so because of software’s nature, because of its essence. The only way of not having problems developing software is by not developing it! Could it be that modern PaaS technologies are the silver bullet we need to kill the software development werewolf?
How can we frame the cloud phenomenon within the technological innovation literature stream? Can we say it’s a naturally evolving creative destruction process where entrants offer services technologically superior to those of incumbents? Or is it more of a disruptive innovation, in the sense that the same standard servers we’ve used for years are now offered in a simpler and more cost-efficient manner appealing to the less demanding customers? If the cloud business model is technological discontinuity, is it competence enhancing or competence destroying? My conclusion is that the cloud is the fastest growing open innovation ecosystem we’ve seen yet, and however we frame it, it’s an exciting industry to study.