The May BizSpark event in Paris, Microsoft and technology venture capitalists had the chance to assess the upcoming wares from Europe’s brightest young hopefuls in the software development world.
With cloud computing dominating the IT news headlines, surveys and analysts’ attentions, the bulk of the development houses were presenting cloud computing technology and business models. The following companies had to present to a panel of experts from Microsoft and the European venture capital community. They were all impressive and will no doubt begin to shape the marketplace.
Based in Scotland, Money Dashboard proves that no matter what goes wrong, a strong business sector will get back up and win. Banking and financial services in the UK have taken a battering in the credit crisis, especially in Scotland where Royal Bank of Scotland required emergency government funding in order to survive. But the Scottish cloud-based financial services model looks to have real potential.
The ultimate aim is to provide a cloud-based service that enables users to use the internet for more than the budget management that they currently do and instead harness the power of the internet to manage and generate their own wealth. Money Dashboard provides the user with a single interface for all their financial services, no matter the provider, easing the management of personal funds and ending the nightmare of having to remember half a dozen registration details. Money Dashboard’s business model is to act as a trusted middleman between the consumer and financial service providers, guiding the financial service provider towards targeted users in a lead-generation business model. Views of the Azure-based interface were impressive and the business model makes sense, in fact it has been tried before by an Asia Pacific banking group, but it was too early to market.
No Excuse Accounting
This Spanish smartphone application is pitched at the vital contractors market, which is a valuable marketplace in Spain and the UK. The company claims that contractors such as builders, plumbers; electricians and plasterers spend an extra working day of the week doing their essential administration such as sending out invoices. This application allows pre-prepared accounting documents and invoices to be created, sent and managed from a smartphone. There are already a wide number of PC-based applications, but this could be the first smartphone application; and contractors are major users of smartphones.
The business model is that once a user registers for and downloads the application they are charged on a transactional basis every time a document is sent via the application. It has been designed for Microsoft and Apple smartphones and can already be downloaded from the iPhone Apstore and Microsoft Windows Marketplace.
The list of applications and processes being virtualised continues and identity access management is next on the list according to 8Man, a German software house whose passionate presentation was full of humour on a dry topic. The presentation focused on the speed and cost savings they promised with an ambitious business plan to begin as a service pitched at the SME market as they develop the technology to suit SAP ERP systems and SharePoint for the multi-nationals.
The coalition government has already had to take its cuts axe to higher education in the UK, and as European economies all grapple with the need to improve the education of their population, while reducing its cost, this model from Turkey to meet a very local need could be a pointer to other nations.
In Turkey there is a finite number of university places and competition for these is fierce, with only one in eight students gaining a university place. As a result there is high demand for personal tuition in Turkey. Enter Sordu, an online marketplace and teaching zone that allows pupils to review, select and then be taught by subject specialists as they prepare for university places. Sordu blends e-learning and meeting technology and the business expects to see growth in the health sector as well as education. This will be an interesting model to watch as competition for university places around the world increases and universities look for ways of delivering tuition at lower costs.
Siondo is proving that British companies can sell something back to the Chinese. The Software-as-a-Service provider acts like a massive hosting site for cloud based applications. Imagine all the applications you require in a Yahoo-like site: that is a simple definition of what Siondo offers. Like Money Dashboard, users only need one set of registration details. For CIOs the beauty is that there is no need for integration and the cloud-based CRM is all run from Siondo.
Users pick the applications they require from a wide variety of cloud-based providers, and Siono also has its own ERP and CRM applications on offer. The London-based company is already seeing significant business in developing economies which are not tied to SAP or Oracle legacies such as China, India and the Middle East. Siondo was developed on .Net and SQL Server 2008 technology.
A single cloud repository for cloud-based applications is a strong business model.