Apart from the fact that Appirio puts on by far the best party at Dreamforce, it also happens to be one of the real disrupters in the SI market. One of the ways it does this is through the CloudSpokes community. In this 4:04 minute video, co-founder Narinder Singh talks through how the company is going about disrupting cloud implementation and development consulting.
A few metrics worth noting about CloudSpokes:
This is impressive by any standards. Off camera, Singh said the company has taken its foot off the gas a little bit as it manages community growth. Of greater interest to me was the Singh's claim that on certain projects, it doesn't make sense to use Appirio's own development teams but to turn the project over to CloudSpokes with Appirio maintaining a watching brief.
He gave the example of one project where CloudSpokes brought the project in at a significant reduction to the fully loaded cost that Appirio would have needed to charge but at higher margin. "We believe that if you're going to disrupt the SI market then you have to apply it to yourself in order for it to make sense. We're doing that by putting our own work into challenges. It's producing better results for us and customers. It's a genuine win-win," said Singh.
I asked about engagement given that of the reported 50,000 members it seems that there have only been some 2,600 submitted entries. "You've got to remember that developers sign up for communities for more than one reason. Money certainly helps but they like to learn from their peers. Despite what the numbers suggest, when we take out the skewed results. the median number of entries per challenge is four. That's four different ideas per challenge. We think that's pretty good going."
Appirio Raises $60M to Take on Accenture (Forbes.com)