James Governor's Monkchips

Online RFP: Spanning opportunity for Sun (or HP or IBM)

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We got a chance to talk to Sun yesterday about its Startup Essentials program, which recently got a friendly ding from Matt Mullenweg, and a mea culpa from Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz. I parsed the online conversation as a new kind of online, community-based RFP mechanism: Every Blog a potential RFP: The new sales battleground.

Well now comes a great chance to show just how responsive to an opportunity Sun can be, and generate some positive buzz about the program. What is more, we’re talking exactly the kind of play that Jonathan is on the record as wanting to pursue.

Spanning Partners is an interesting players in the emerging synchronised web economy. Its first product SpanningSalesforce is designed to allow you to track salesforce.com CRM information using RSS feeds.

Charlie Woods now points to the rather interesting growth curve for SpanningSync, the beta of its new Google Calendar to iSync tool here. I reproduce the graph below:

Demand is so great Charlie has had to stop taking any new beta customers, which is exactly the kind of problem Startup Essentials is supposed to solve.

Who is Charlie anyway? Does he have a track record worth considering? He has been in CMS and portal space for years. He was the bus dev exec for Newgator’s enterprise play. He is one of the Enterprise Irregulars, which means any positive outcomes are likely to be extensively blogged by a growing influencer community.

Charlie’s online RFP says:

Sun has some kick-ass new servers they’re looking to seed startups with, right? Or maybe a regional hosting provider could use some free publicity.

So this is a nice buzzosphere rebound opportunity for Sun. But of course if IBM or HP has some interest and some nice gear they could jump for the same ball.

I am beginning to think there might be a real business opportunity in Web 2.0 online RFP aggregation. Just wait til someone designs a machine tag or microformat to augment the human aspects… Sales and marketing is changing fundamentally and online RFPs are a reality, not just something interesting I noticed.

disclaimers: Sun is a RedMonk patron. IBM eServer group is a client.

I myself am one of the Irregulars, although I haven’t yet put the logo on monkchips. Charlie once said nice things about me so I am keen to help. I will be following this blog up with some back channel communications.

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