Two weeks ago we sent out sponsorship invitations to a few companies we work with closely (if you haven’t gotten one please email firstname.lastname@example.org). Shockey Monkey and I wanted to offer you the big picture of where things are heading. As you recall, we launched Shockey Monkey Reloaded (2.0) in November with the major news being that the entire solution is now completely free with all the features included free of charge. It is vendor sponsored so you will see ads in it (and yes, you can opt out of them as well as pay for support and onboarding assistance).
Now, here is some background that I hope puts it all into context.
We are still very much in the huge development cycle for Shockey Monkey. I have some very big plans for it that mostly center around how small businesses actually manage their businesses.
We’re a small business. We’re also a rather modern one at that – with iPads and remote workers and multiple offices and SAS 70 Type II audit / compliance needs and a global client base. We cover a lot of ground that costs a lot of money for very sophisticated stuff that we barely use. So we look at those essential components and we build it into Shockey Monkey. For example, here is what I mean:
If you’ve gone beyond scratching the surface of support and client tracking information you’ve probably discovered chat integration. You’ve also noticed the alerts system that allows every Shockey Monkey event to be discussed, tracked and commented by the whole staff. Now how is this useful?
Think of it as Facebook. People upload pictures, friends comment on it. People update their status, friends comment on it. Now apply it to your business. Employees update tickets, employees comment on it – Add it to documentation, bill them for the hours, escalate it to the boss or send them a thank you note. Every business event worth tracking is an event worth commenting on and driving towards the well oiled machine we all want our businesses to be.
This is why Shockey Monkey is so important and why it’s free. We want everyone to use it.
Now, by the end of 2nd quarter, all of OWN partners will be using it. That’s a given since that’s how everyone will be managing the business they resell from us. And we’re more than happy to cover that bill.
Now before you start thinking I’ve gone crazy and am just burning through what is a multimillion dollar business line on it’s own, slow down and think about it for a moment.
The money (Vlad’s Ferrari Fund money) is not in the software. The money is in the services that are sold through it and supported through it. The money is in end user / end business support.
Last week we sent out a sponsorship package to a bunch of folks we work with. We’re looking at max of 17 sponsors with total revenue accounting for about $500,000.
That’s about a half a dozen developers and some support and marketing money.
As you can tell, it’s all about the product for us in 2012 and the low # of sponsors backs that. We do not want to turn Shockey Monkey into some sort of a free adult entertainment site with banners and spyware everywhere and sponsors are tied into our LooksCloudy.com site whose mission is event coverage and partner development. So there is more to this than pure sales as well. It’s about more effectively connecting partners with their vendors, in the same way that SM will better connect our partners to us.
Where this leads is sort of up to the vendors that choose to sponsor our solution. I sincerely believe that Shockey Monkey is a great stepping stone to some very mature solutions in the channel with a very advanced feature set. I think a lot of companies will choose to sponsor us to assure that it’s their solution you step up to, not their competition. What we’re pretty much guaranteeing is that Shockey Monkey will be the entry point for all aspiring and growing MSPs – because we aim to keep it free – but where they grow from here is up to the market to decide.
The future of the monkey is up to the users and to the sponsors, we have to please both.
Certainly the revenues are in the services and we run that business better than most.
With Shockey Monkey we have a unique opportunity to build a huge platform and expand it. Most of my investment is to tie Shockey Monkey further into the backoffice and the way small businesses run their operations. This means connecting the monkey to email, Facebook, twitter, instant messaging, payment services and more.
This is the point at which Shockey Monkey goes from being worth a few million targeting IT Solution Providers (now) to being worth a huge multiple of that to just about every small business out there that leverages social networking.
We all seemingly use things like Facebook, twitter and Gmail for personal interaction.
And the biggest trend in IT is consumerisation.
So connect the dots. Consumers using a social backend for business management.
So to sum it up: Shockey Monkey is free and it will remain free. The sponsorship opportunities are available in a limited amount because we want to make sure that ads do not interrupt your ability to work and give those that sponsor a solution good ROI. The roadmap for 2012 which will be released later will include two major updates and is aimed at tying more backoffice automation into the Monkey. The big picture goal is to build Monkey into a broader SMB process automation tool tied into the web, social media and email – which will help you expand your client base while also improving you own operations. Win, win, win.
Update: I just wanted to make it really clear that Shockey Monkey will remain free for the long term. We killed “Shockey Monkey Free” and “Shockey Monkey Fro” and all the features of Shockey Monkey Pro have been made available to everyone. You can still buy Pro if you want phone/email support, onboarding assistance and more.