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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Co-Founders of Huddle (Part 7)

Posted on Thursday, Feb 20th 2014

Sramana Mitra: Let’s say I had my first Huddle account set up because I’m a client of WPP. My employer is also going to use Huddle, what happens? Do you create duplicate accounts? How does that resolve?

Andy McLoughlin: You have your own account. You’re paid for by whoever is managing your account. If you’re a WPP employee, you’ll be paid for by WPP.

Sramana Mitra: I first got on Huddle because my employer is a client of WPP. So my account, when I first got on Huddle, was paid for by WPP. Now, I have an account for Huddle. Now my employer is also setting up a Huddle installation and is paying Huddle accounts for its employees and customers. I’m now in a situation where I could have a Huddle account from WPP and a Huddle account from my employer. The question I’m asking you is a question about how identities are managed? Is it one unique identity or multiple accounts set up by different people? How is identity resolved?

Andy McLoughlin: You have a unique identity that is you. You own that identity. That account would be initially paid for by WPP but would then be transitioned to be paid for by your customer or employer. Then you’re given access to different workspaces depending on who you’re working with. You could leave that employer and you’ll be taken out of those workspaces. You could still be working on WPP, so you stay in those workspaces as a freelancer. You’re given access to different Huddle workspaces depending on who you’re invited to work with.

Sramana Mitra: The follow on question to that is how do you charge? Do you charge by the number of accounts?

Andy McLoughlin: In the first case, it’s by person.

Sramana Mitra: Is there a double charging in the case of WPP and your employer?

Alastair Mitchell: No. In the first case, you’re paid for by WPP and then you’re paid for by your client.

Andy McLoughlin: A user account can only belong natively to one organization although it can be in workspaces owned by others if it’s invited in. Your account would just transition from your employer to WPP and then back again if you left WPP.

Alastair Mitchell: We have many examples. With WPP, their customer Monetize was using Huddle with their clients. They were talking to their customers about using Huddle and their customers were so panicked about them taking away Huddle access so they said, “Look, we’ll buy it instead ourselves and we’ll take ownership of all employees who are currently in your workspaces and we’ll pay for them.”

Sramana Mitra: I think what I heard you say is that in a scenario where an identity is being transferred to a different organization, the payment process is also switched over to the people who then own the account?

Alastair Mitchell: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: I’m interested in this because a lot of virality is built into these collaboration products. I remember when WebEx came into being, everybody who got exposed to WebEx wanted to use WebEx.

Andy McLoughlin: It is. Our biggest sales people are our customers. We spend a lot of effort trying to make sure that we have happy customers.

Alastair Mitchell: It’s an interesting peek on virality because this isn’t virality on a social networking way. It’s a virality in allowing Huddle to be sold from businesses to businesses without having sales people there.

Sramana Mitra: Awesome. Anything else you want to share?

Andy McLoughlin: No, it’s great to talk to someone who understands this so deeply. You have huge experience and have been successful in your own right. It’s been great to talk to you.

Alastair Mitchell: Very rarely does someone dig as to how our account model works.

Sramana Mitra: Awesome. Great to meet you both. Very interesting company and good luck with the next part of the journey.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Co-Founders of Huddle
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