What makes Akamai sticky?

There’s one thing in particular that tends to make Akamai customers “sticky” — the amount the customer uses professional services. The more professional services a customer consumes from Akamai, the less likely it is they’ll ever switch CDNs. In short: The more of a pain it’s been for them to integrate with Akamai’s CDN (usually due to the customer having a complex site that violates best practices related to content cacheability), and the more they have to use recurring professional services every time they update their site, the less likely it is that they’re going to move to another CDN. That’s for two reasons — one, because it’s difficult and expensive to do the up-front work to get the site onto another CDN, and two, because most other CDNs don’t like to do extensive professional services on a recurring basis. That makes the use of professional services a double-edged sword, since it’s not really a business with great margins, and you’re vulnerable if the customer eventually goes and builds a site that isn’t a great big hairy mess.

But there’s one Akamai product (delivered as a value-added additional service) that’s currently sufficiently compelling that customers and prospects who want it, won’t consider any other CDN that can’t offer the same. (And since it’s currently unique to Akamai, that means no competition, always a boon in a market where pricing is daily warfare.) I’m suddenly seeing it frequently quoted, which makes it likely that it’s a significant sales push, though it’s not a brand-new product. It’s a very effective attach.

Can you guess what it is?

(You may feel free to speculate on my blog, but if you want the answer, and you’re a Gartner client, make an inquiry request through the usual means.)

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Posted on August 23, 2011, in Infrastructure and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Is this meant to be a PR blog post for Akamai?

  2. Not in the least. Given that Akamai’s having tremendous problems being sufficiently sticky in the last year or so, I thought this would be an interesting thing to note on my blog, though.

  3. To me, it would be their API for data analysis and management. But maybe others are getting up to speed on that.

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