an abstract blog hero image for a post about deciding to build your own cloud marketplace APIs, buy a cloud GTM platform/solution, or partner with a strategic vendor, like a PBO

Build, Buy or Partner: Operationalizing your Cloud Marketplace Channel

When thinking about entering a new market, adding functionality, or scaling up, ISVs have a few options: build it yourself, buy a solution that you can integrate to expand capabilities or to partner with someone who offers what you need. As ISVs look to enter cloud marketplaces like AWS, Azure, GCP and Salesforce, the question becomes, How do you plan to get your product ready for integration with your marketplace CSP (cloud service provider) or CRM solution? 

The answer is rarely to plug and play your current platform, so thought should be put into your strategy. 


Build your cloud marketplace APIs

If you plan to build the integration or application on your own, you need to make sure you have the resources and the internal expertise. 

To list your application on one of the top hyperscaler cloud marketplaces (Azure, AWS, GCP), it requires that you build out your own APIs. These APIs allow an ISV to list, submit co-sell opportunities and overall take advantage of the marketplace as a selling channel. 

For example: to integrate your own solution with the APIs, AWS says that when using their internal tool “SaaS Quick Launch,” it should take roughly or just under 20 hours. If you plan to create a custom solution from scratch, this could be even longer.

Listing can be its own challenge when building, as you will need to pass security and architecture reviews. A key value for customers buying from a marketplace is that applications have gone through a rigorous security test. While great for buyers, passing a security review can be a challenge for companies, who often go through numerous rounds of reviews before an application is accepted. 

Once built, someone internally needs to maintain those APIs – and if you built a specific application for the marketplace – maintain the solution as well. As AWS, Azure, Salesforce, and other cloud marketplaces update their solution, you too must test and ensure your application is still working as intended. 


Buy a solution to integrate cloud marketplace APIs faster 

If building out the integration or application on your own sounds daunting, you’re not alone. Most companies do not have the internal bandwidth or resources to take this on, especially if the technology is unfamiliar to the product, development and engineering teams.  Even if your internal teams do have the time and the expertise, the on-going maintenance isn’t usually factored into the time allotted to a build project. 

This is where an ISV can consider purchasing a Cloud GTM Platform. Cloud GTM Platforms are a group of emerging solutions (Invisory being one of them) who are dedicated to enabling their customers to list, transact, and co-sell on Cloud Marketplaces via a single platform. Deciding which GTM platform is right for you depends on which cloud marketplace you want to focus on and how deep into the co-sell and GTM strategy aspect of selling you want to go. You can read more on the top cloud GTM contenders here


Partner with a strategic vendor to drive marketplace success

If you want to build your solution or APIs yourself, there are options to partner vs. buy or build out using only internal resources. 

In the Salesforce ecosystem, PDOs (Product Development Resource) like Aquiva Labs, Code Science or Appiphony can help you build an application or integration that an ISV can list on the Salesforce AppExchange

Likewise in the hyperscaler space, there are solutions and Cloud GTM Platform opportunities to only buy API listing capabilities. 

Neither of these solutions will help your team create and execute on a GTM strategy, but they will get you up and running faster and without pulling on your internal resources. 

What to consider when deciding how to go-to-market on a cloud marketplace

As we’ve outlined, there are a number of important conditions to consider when choosing your path to cloud marketplace success

1 – Do you have the internal resources and technical expertise to build and maintain your integration? 

2 – Does your company have executive buy-in to spend time and money expanding into a new channel? (Read more about gaining executive buy-in here.)

3 – Do you have the budget to buy or partner vs. building on your own? 

4 – How quickly do you want to be in market with a cloud marketplace?

The path to success for each ISV looking to take advantage of the revenue opportunities available by selling through a cloud marketplace will look different. Our goal in this piece was to help outline some considerations to help you create a well thought out plan that will get you to market faster, with fewer roadblocks, no matter which cloud marketplace you choose.

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