The Difference Between Application and Infrastructure Ecosystems—and Why It Matters

Posted By: Jon Lavietes Global Alliance Summit, Member Resources,

In the early days of the cloud—which in the world of tech where the new, hot thing becomes passé almost overnight means less than a decade ago—emerging services were split into three broad categories: 1) platform-as-a-service, 2) infrastructure-as-a-service, and 3) software-as-a-service. Where it made sense then to stratify offerings along the layers of the traditional hardware/software stack, over time the industry concluded that the lines between these segments had blurred to the point where they did more to confuse than to clarify the market. They have since faded away.

But just because those terms are now a relic of the tech industry’s past doesn’t mean there still isn’t a little bit of relevance. At the 2023 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, a panel of senior executives from tech startups will make the case for the importance of understanding the nuances between ecosystems dedicated to applications and infrastructure, at the very least. 

“There’s a big difference. And most people wouldn’t be able to articulate that there is a difference. They would look at Amazon and Salesforce and they would say, ‘What’s the difference? They’re both big software app stores,’ but there’s tremendous differences,” said Drew Quinlan, CA–AM, vice president of business development and partnerships at Motive, who will be moderating the panel session, “If You Build It... It’s Not Enough!: Strategies for Entering Infrastructure- vs. Application-Based Ecosystems.” 

Quinlan will be joined by Mike Davis, chief revenue officer at InVisory, and Lauren Newby, senior director of cloud partnerships at InVisory is a research and advisory firm that helps clients develop their application ecosystem strategies. It started as a Salesforce specialist but is now branching out into ServiceNow and other large-vendor ecosystems., meanwhile, brings the infrastructure perspective around generating revenue in B2B marketplaces.   

You’ve Got the Right One, Baby! Which Ecosystem Is for You?

Whether a company plays in the infrastructure or application layer (or both), the panelists seek to provide some structure that could help guide attendees away from simply applying an ad hoc approach to their employer’s ecosystem efforts.

“Everybody wants to be part of these big marketplaces, and our intention is to either help people who are interested in entering into them to understand which one would be the right one, initial steps to accelerate an entrance, and then some expectations of what success could look like. Or, if they’ve already entered into some of these ecosystems, how do you then improve what you’re doing?” said Quinlan.

Those listening to Quinlan, Davis, and Newby will also walk away with a few concrete tips, in addition to some broad conceptual advice.

“Attendees should take away actionable items to reevaluate their approach to the marketplaces that they are in, or to be better informed about which ones they should enter into first, and how to accelerate their initial success,” added Quinlan.

Registration for the 2023 ASAP Global Alliance Summit is still open. Reserve your spot now and book your ticket to Tampa, Fla., for April 3–5 to catch “If You Build It... It’s Not Enough!: Strategies for Entering Infrastructure- vs. Application-Based Ecosystems,” as well as other great panels exploring the skills required of ecosystem managers and a wide tapestry of other topics.