CDN Product Management 103

Continuing with the CDN Product Management discussion, we’re now going to evaluate the next pillar of CDN Product Management, the “Marketing Mix”. In this case, the Marketing Mix refers to the CDN feature set. One of the challenges facing CDN Product Managers is “how to develop the ideal feature set, package it, price it, promote it, and present it to prospects, in order to increase sales x fold”. Another challenge is how to classify the value of the feature. What is the monetary value of each feature? Should the CDN charge for it? How much? Should it be free? Is the feature a game changer, and an innovation that defines a new type of CDN, and creates a new market (Aryaka Networks).

Most CDNs do a decent job in developing new features. Packaging features, productizing them, pricing them out, and writing the value proposition is a massive effort. Price it too low, and risk losing millions of dollars annually in the process (CloudFlare). Price it too high, and the feature might only sell a few units. Keep in mind, that all CDN features, regardless of how innovative they are, will eventually be replicated in two years or less. Having that mindset conditions the thought process to focus on continuous innovation. There are some CDNs that develop features quarterly (MaxCDN), and others that develop features once in a great while (Internap).

After a white-boarding session with the lone self, I’ve come up with the “3-Tier CDN Feature Valuation Classification Model” to provide CDNs some guidance. It might even be helpful to some cloud companies. The purpose of the framework is to help classify the quality of the feature, and the monetary value of the feature. The Pricing Model is the first of its kind, and it’s a work in process, that’ll be updated regularly. Below is a partial list of CDN features, which numbers around 40.

Partial CDN Feature List

DSA, ADN, FEO, WAF, rsync, token auth, RTMP, HDS, HLS, SSL Certs, real time logs, origin storage, instant purging, rules engine, download manager, basic reporting, advanced reporting, real time reporting, DNS services, mobile device detection, transocding, DDoS mitigation, reseller portal, origin shield, two-factor authentication, login protect, backdoor protect, bot protection, real time security reporting, DNS protection, dedicated Level 1 PCI compliant network, API acceleration, enhanced cache invalidation, gzip, sFTP, SPDY support, WaaS, Content Exchange (Aspera), Browser protect, DRM, 302/303 redirects …

3-Tier CDN Feature Valuation Classification Model

Tier 1 Feature Set:  Consist of a combination  of  features that are innovative, unique & broad in scope. Creates a  new market by disrupting old markets:  WAN as-a-Service, Software Defined Application Delivery (SDAD), CyberSecurity CDN w/ DDoS Mitigation, and Media Delivery CDN with an end-to-end video workflow capability…

Tier 2 Features: Single feature that provide specific functionality. Can be innovative when it first comes out, like DSA, but eventually everyone replicates it => Token auth, SSL cert, real time reporting, DNS service, DNS protection, transcoding, DRM, browser protect, rules engine, origin storage, DSA, FEO, WAF, DDoS Mitigation, Content Exchange (aspera like), Advanced Analytics (Conviva like), PCI Compliant…

Tier 3 Feature: Feature with no monetary value and offered for free. In most cases, the work is done behind the scenes, in order to plug a hole in the platform, or to give a required functionality: sFTP, rsyn, SSL shared, RTMP, HLS, HDS, redirects, instant purge, instant reporting, gzip, enhanced cache invalidation, API acceleration, origin shield, two factor authentication, basic reporting…

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