One thing you can say about KaaS -- and many other cloud services -- most customers tend to pay the same for the same service. One example: our “SAP Helpdesk in the Cloud,” where each customer pays a flat per-answer fee for each consulting question they pose.
Other crowd sourcing offerings -- on this site and others -- may employ other pricing models, such as cash awards for custom software solutions -- awards that can be set by the buyer, the seller or the site. Regardless of the particular formula, however, the price tends to be two things: 1) open, in that everyone knows what it is, and 2) the same for everyone. Of course, the fact that the price is open also tends to make it consistent.
But other factors also favor a level price -- like the need for efficiency. KaaS sites are successful to the extent they attract lots of traffic. Providers will come only if there are lots of customers. And customers will come only if there are lots of providers. Both are more likely to come only if buyers and sellers can move in and out of the market quickly. And if users must negotiate a price for every transaction, that will just slow them down.
But if you look at more traditional ways knowledge gets sold -- for example, as software or as software support -- helping people move faster seems like much less a priority.
Take SAP’s pricing policies. As Helmuth Gumbel recently observed, there is a contradiction between SAP’s endorsement of openness when it comes to service oriented architectures and the extra licensing fees it charges when you actually allow non-SAP apps to use SAP services. Depending on how much clout you have, SAP may classify those non-SAP apps as “technical users” and require you to pay extra.
Let’s just say that if you can make it worthwhile to SAP -- say, by buying more licenses -- SAP may cut you a special deal.
That kind of nonsense is less likely to happen in KaaS if only because the pricing really is “open.” It has to be for this model to work, and because the old models don’t let you move fast enough.