Is there such a thing as a free lunch??

After Navatar made the announcement for free services for Salesforce, here are a just a few of several questions I received:

How will you make money?”

Free – Ha Ha...”

Very interesting … still digesting what it means..”

The questions were genuine and their underlying theme was clear – everyone seemed very surprised since they didn’t think it was possible to provide any services free of cost. They were trying to figure out what the catch was.

There really is no catch. This is the way it is supposed to be in the cloud computing model. Cloud products are not physically installed for each customer the way on premise products are. True cloud products are multitenant and share databases, infrastructure and labor. Which means that the costs of implementing, maintaining, supporting and innovating can be shared too. That’s why, when you buy a cloud product you are supposed to get most services related to product implementation and support free of cost. It’s as simple as that.

All said and done, this is still a concept that will take some time to stomach – particularly, for folks that are like myself and have spent almost a couple of decades in the technology world, have long made a living implementing and maintaining software and have seen several fads come and go (I too spent years helping Deloitte and PwC make money on systems integration work). So their skepticism is understandable.

But there’s another category of doubters – those that have bought into the idea that implementing Salesforce for your business is simple enough to be accomplished with a few button clicks while playing poker. It’s often hard for them to see the value of what we offer (at least initially) since they are driven by the notion that it’s an easy DIY job. However, they typically realize after 6-12 months that the task of getting Salesforce to support their business, though not as daunting as plugging an oil well leak, can be extremely cumbersome and distracting.

So the answer is: No, we are not offering free lunches. Cost is one of the important advantages that Cloud Computing delivers – services costs are a big part of the TCO of software that the cloud promises to reduce. Real Cloud Product Companies will offer low cost subscriptions to useful, out-of-the-box (or, shall we say, out-of-the-cloud) products without charging customers for services – which is what we at Navatar are doing. The idea is that every Hedge Fund (or every Broker/Dealer or every Mutual Fund) doesn’t have to spend time and money doing the same thing just to implement and support software. Once customers see that value, they will be the real winners.

Alok Misra