Should CDNs Offer Professional Services

It’s been a known fact for years that a few CDNs charge customers for Professional Services. The debate is old, and many CDNs try to use it against Akamai when competing with them in accounts. Usually it goes something like this “Akamai charges a high fee every time they touch or service your account, we don’t, we throw it in for no charge”. In one white paper published by Verizon Digital Media Services dubbed “5 Myths About CDN and The Truth You Should Know”, they mention the following: “For example, at the end of 2013, the largest legacy CDN had 745 technical and professional service employees billed out at $300 per hour, earning them $128M in revenue”. This raises an interesting question, should CDNs charge for Professional Services?

The answer is right in that statement, Akamai made $128M in Professional Service fees. Yes, CDNs should charge Professional Services when the opportunity arises. It can be offered as an option along with the CDN feature set. Not every client will need it, but many will. Most small business most likely won’t go for it. However, NBC, Disney, Exxon Mobile, Ford, Toyota, Fortune 1000, and most large enterprises probably will. Large companies have large IT budgets to spend throughout the year. Someone is going to capture that IT spend for Professional Services, and it might as well be a CDN, not IBM, EDS, HP, Computer Sciences Corp, and someone similar. Plus, many large corporations don’t have time or skill set to do it, and would rather outsource that part of the project to a Professional Services team that knows what their doing. Conclusion: CDNs should offer Professional Services. Don’t rip Akamai because they are very profitable in one segment of the business. The question should be “how can I mimic Akamai strategy and be successful like they are”?

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