AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud all have a cloud marketplace – a place for independent service vendors (ISVs) and consultants to sell one-click deploy software solutions that run inside a customer's cloud account.
Historically, marketplaces have been bad channels for SaaS companies.
Why this is not so interesting today, and maybe a little interesting tomorrow.
Why it isn't interesting today.
Software is easy to deploy with infrastructure-as-code, but this doesn't change the maintenance cost. When things go wrong (they always do), organizations lack the organizational knowledge to fix them.
Enterprise software is high touch, marketplaces are inherently not. While system integrators are a thing of the past, having a point of contact with the vendor is essential to operating complex software.
It's unclear if ISVs make enough money to make this worthwhile. The market says no.
Why might they be interesting in the future?
Convergence of application runtime primitives. Kubernetes provides a common interface that most applications can deploy on. Replicated offers this as a service. Not all operational knowledge will transfer between different applications running on Kubernetes, but we're well on our way of abstracting out common elements – storage, networking, log management, and runtime.
Better control plane / data plane architecture shifts some of the operational burden off of customers while still letting them deploy on their own account.
Self-service eating away sales assisted deals. Bottom up software adoption is a strong tailwind for enterprise software. Individual contributors and teams using the software within companies provide product-qualified leads for enterprise deals. What if this trend continues? As organizations adopt more SaaS products, more of them will need to be self-service.
These marketplaces all list the same products. Getting your product on each marketplace takes time and money. Tackle is a startup that offers a service to streamline this process for your company. Is there room for a multi-cloud marketplace? Hashicorp would be in the best position to do this.
Is there an ad business here? Evaluating B2B software is more art than science. You can't do a proof-of-concept trial with every vendor. G2 is a site that provides reviews for enterprise software, but you could imagine that would be an interesting complement with cloud marketplaces (verified buyers, reviews, etc.).