Fujitsu's cloud store is open for business, beginning with customer relationship management. The company said earlier this week that its new, cloud-based Business Solutions Store will offer new subscription-based business services in a single platform marketplace.
For independent software vendors (ISVs), said cloud business vice president Andre Kiehne in a statement, "partnering with Fujitsu is the equivalent of a 'backstage' pass, since it provides them with easy access to a growing and truly global cloud solutions marketplace."
'Standard Feature Set'
The Business Solutions Store will include offerings from both Fujitsu and its partners, provided as software-as-a-service. A single interface will be available to set up new applications in the cloud-based Store.
This platform marketplace is the latest in Fujitsu's growing cloud environment. The company started recruiting ISVs last year to participate in a revenue-sharing model, in order to increase the number of business apps it could provide in the cloud. The company has been pushing its Global Cloud Platform as a way for ISVs to jump-start their ability to offer cloud-based services, without any initial investment. The revenue split with partners has not been disclosed.
With its CRM Cloud Services, Fujitsu is offering the first of its business apps, alongside those of partners. CRM Cloud Services, based on open source technology, provides what the company described as a "standard feature set" but at a "more affordable entry point," although the exact features are not yet detailed.
Both the Business Solutions Store and the CRM Cloud Services will be rolled out into various global markets early next year.
Pricing, Small Vendors
The CRM app was originally an in-house app for the company, which Fujitsu decided to build after it surveyed the prices and functionalities of others. Some observers have questioned whether Fujitsu, which is better known as a service provider in Japan than in other countries, will be able to compete in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere with the likes of , SAP, and Microsoft.
Until it is better known in the more developed markets outside Japan, the company may first target lesser advanced markets, such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the so-called BRIC area.
A related issue is whether Fujitsu's cloud-based CRM services will be competitive, in terms of what it can do. But the company has indicated that, while it might not yet be able to compete in terms of visibility and functionality, it might be able to do so on price.
Another competitive factor could be the aggregation of applications from smaller software vendors, who find the platform and little-or-no upfront cost attractive. This, plus an emphasis on open-source software, could help keep the cost structure low. Traditionally, Fujitsu has not been a partner to small- to medium-sized software vendors, but this marketplace could provide the differentiation it needs to get a foothold.