I just saw a blog post by our friends of bluevia where they argued that building a brand new thing from the scratch is the best way to go. Well, I have a somewhat different opinion. Let me explain how this comes.
Our product concept is a mixed one: We build own stuff internally and provide it via APIs – such as the Global SMS API. But we also partner with companies large and small to build joined products. Examples are our IVR system or App Monitor.
We established a process for this. It starts by looking into the marketplace and thinking on extensions to our current product line that make sense. For App Monitor, we discovered the problem of an extremely diversified Android marketplace and the hassle developers have to ensure quality. Another observation was that quality already is of some importance but will become of major importance in the near future. Next step was to look around and find a suitable technology to help us and we found an Israel based company that worked in this fields for some years. Exactly for this we have a tech scout. The solution was not exactly what we needed but it was a good starting point. Therefore, we added what we as Deutsche Telekom have: New business model, some missing features, hosting and operations, data privacy, access to a large test pool of devices, and what not. We have specialists here, we have access to partners, we have architects knowing what carrier grade software means. After some months of work, we were able to launch App Monitor and are now working jointly to increase quality, add features, and sell it.
The same comes true for our IVR system. We searched for a partner and found it. But I can point out lots of things we added or changed in conjunction with the partner. We are now about to add some features… well, by adding another partner technology.
The point behind this is twofold: On the one hand, we want to be agile and innovative. Doing this all ourselves would be nice but is simply naïve to expect. There are groups within Deutsche Telekom that have the idea of looking 7+ years into the future – namely T-Labs. Our goal is differently in providing useful products within months.
On the other side, it is not that we are a supply chain in buying products and reselling them. We add goodness by means of what we can do as a large, multi-national corporation. This comes in many forms and shapes. Technically, we know what it means to operate large infrastructures in a reliable manner. We know what security means. We are providing an onboarding platform which enable partners to easily integrate into our current offers. And we can span all kinds of platforms. From an operations perspective, we do customer identity management, invoicing, and support. From a go to market perspective, we do marketing and sales. And last but not least, we have product managers who keep an eye on the market and help to shape and drive the product.
So, if you are using one of our products, you get it all: Innovation, solid technology and operations, and a reliable partner. I think this is a good offer to go for.