Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why Buy The Cow?

Webex (along with Unyte and a few others) provides a facility for meeting over the internet. Since Cisco acquired Webex, it has saved nearly a third of its travel and expense budget.

SaaS specialist Phil Wainewright describes this saving as a direct benefit of the acquisition. But of course companies can exploit web meeting as an external service, without acquiring the capability in-house. Indeed, this is one of the main advantages of SaaS - the ability to exploit external capability.

A recent book on Software-as-a-Service makes this very point in the title: "Why Buy The Cow?" In other words, if you are lucky enough to live near a dairy supplier, you can buy milk when you need it, you don't need to buy a cow to get a regular supply of milk.

No doubt Cisco has gained other benefits from owning Webex, but the savings from web meetings shouldn't be included. If Cisco and Webex executives are claiming otherwise, perhaps they should carefully read the book, which was written by, er, Subrah S. Iyar, co-founder of WebEx.

Is there ever a good reason to buy the cow? If you own the cow, you don't have to worry Who Moved My Cheese. In other words, there are certain types of change (sudden unavailability of cheese, uncontrolled increases in price) you can protect yourself against. But of course if you own a cow, there are now a lot of new things to worry about instead: Who Moved My Grass?

Link: Why Buy The Cow

No comments: