yourfanat wrote: I am using another tool for Oracle developers - dbForge Studio for Oracle. This IDE has lots of usefull features, among them: oracle designer, code competion and formatter, query builder, debugger, profiler, erxport/import, reports and many others. The latest version supports Oracle 12C. More information here.
Cloud Expo on Google News
Cloud Expo & Virtualization 2009 East
Smarter Business Solutions Through Dynamic Infrastructure
Smarter Insights: How the CIO Becomes a Hero Again
Windows Azure
Why VDI?
Maximizing the Business Value of Virtualization in Enterprise and Cloud Computing Environments
Messaging in the Cloud - Email, SMS and Voice
Freedom OSS
Stairway to the Cloud
Sun's Incubation Platform: Helping Startups Serve the Enterprise
Cloud Computing & Enterprise IT: Cost & Operational Benefits
How and Why is a Flexible IT Infrastructure the Key To the Future?
Click For 2008 West
Event Webcasts
Everything-as-a-Service Creates Product Catalog Blues | Part 2
Embracing the inherent flexibility of services means using tools that are inherently flexible enough to do the job

In my last post, we learned that services are only like products if you are willing to oversimplify them. And if you oversimplify them, you can miss out on business opportunities.

Services (actions supported by things) differ in several important ways from products (things supported by actions). While product options are generally well defined up front by the manufacturer, customers for services want to mix and match pieces of different services and essentially create their own new service. The definition of the service can easily become fuzzier and fuzzier as you serve more customers. Customers know that customizing a mass-produced product is a challenge, but they think, surely it's easy to fine-tune a service. It doesn't come pre-formed in a box, after all.

Unlike products, services tend to be fuzzy around the edges, and they can be shape-shifters. The world of everything-as-a-service (XaaS) is going to enable a lot of shape-shifting through customization, bundling and mash-ups. Some service providers will embrace this, while others will struggle to keep up.

Embracing the inherent flexibility of services means using tools that are inherently flexible enough to do the job. Take the product catalog example. Do you handle services just like products, in an enterprise-resource-planning (ERP)-oriented way? Does your way of working demand that every service have a SKU or other unique identifier? Does every service option need a separate SKU? How do you handle one-off variants? Do those also need SKUs, or do they become out-of-catalog exceptions? Either way may cause a problem.

SKUs are fine, provided your products are in boxes. But services don't come in boxes. Already, some service providers find that the total number of basic services, including variants and options, exceeds the number of customers. This is not about to change. In fact, we can expect to see steady increases across the board in the number of basic services, service variants, options and bundles. The universe of possible services may be, in practice, almost infinite.

Numbers are cheap, but a traditional customer relationship management (CRM) or ERP-based approach that depends on SKUs will, eventually, become unmanageable. Sometime soon, product catalogs in their traditional SKU-based form will revert to being used only for products, which is what they were designed to do. Service providers who want to offer anything more complex will need something more flexible and scalable.

A good rule of thumb is if your service offering is such that you can't stick a barcode on it, then maybe using a SKU-based system is not a good idea.

What else is there? How can we manage this proliferation of service entities? How can we make this scalable? I don't think anyone has succeeded in adapting a traditional SKU-based system to be scalable and flexible enough to track the characteristics and pricing for a large and growing portfolio of dynamically created and adapted services.

Fortunately, at MetraTech we did not have to adapt a traditional product catalog. For our billing system, we designed an approach to products and services management from the ground up, on the assumption that whatever we might predict as the future for complex services, reality would turn out even more complex. By design, our approach to building the service portfolio is infinitely scalable with no constraints imposed by a pre-set numbering system. The rules for calculating prices can be as complex or as simple as needed, with a different formula for every customer, if needed. All services and service variants and options can be captured in the system, so nothing is off the record, but at the same time each service can be made available globally, just to specific customers or even just to one individual procurement person in one company. We know that services are not always going to be defined by human beings working in an office, so our architecture permits us to set up secure and controlled interactions with all types of Web-enabled applications. Call them agents if you like. In the frenetic new world of the Internet of Agents and XaaS, we're ready for business already.

About Esmeralda Swartz
Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

In order to post a comment you need to be registered and logged in.

Register | Sign-in

Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Latest Cloud Developer Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online co...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the I...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Ind...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award win...
Subscribe to the World's Most Powerful Newsletters
Subscribe to Our Rss Feeds & Get Your SYS-CON News Live!
Click to Add our RSS Feeds to the Service of Your Choice:
Google Reader or Homepage Add to My Yahoo! Subscribe with Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online
myFeedster Add to My AOL Subscribe in Rojo Add 'Hugg' to Newsburst from CNET Kinja Digest View Additional SYS-CON Feeds
Publish Your Article! Please send it to editorial(at)!

Advertise on this site! Contact advertising(at)! 201 802-3021

SYS-CON Featured Whitepapers