eBay might sell in-house expertise as BI-as-a-service

Last week, eBaysaid it might offer the giant data warehouse that it has been using forinternal business analytics as a business intelligence service toexternal customers.


It’sno surprise that companies who have built and maintained successfultechnologies for internal use decide to add it to their portfolio ofcustomer offerings. If a technology has worked for the company’semployees and has allowed it to run its business better than it couldhave otherwise, then why not let customers reap the benefits as well?


Actually,it’s much like taking your great grandmother’s proven secret muffinrecipe and making a business out of it. The recipe has been tried andtweaked over the generations and is now ready for mass publicconsumption.


But eBay isn’t alone in this approach. Amazon.comInc., too, did a similar thing when it began offering its in-houseAmazon Web Services to external customers, specifically the applicationhosting service Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and the hosted storageservice S3.


Andso did Hewlett Packard Co. when it began offering Radio FrequencyIdentification (RFID) data centre asset management a couple of yearsago. HP had been extensively using RFID in-house when it decided toapply that expertise to design an offering to help customers bettermanage and automate their data centres. Following a series of pilots atHP Labs, a customer offering was eventually created. (Read about the growth of RFID as a data centre asset management tool.)


Butas for eBay, it isn’t out of the woods just yet. The recipe still needsa bit of tweaking. One issue the company has identified is the largeamount of time it will take for customers to upload big volumes of datato the warehouse.


Atany rate, offering a successful in-house technology to externalcustomers is a service that markets itself by virtue of the fact thatthe vendor believed in it enough to run its own business on it –- sortof like eating your own dog food.


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