Modelos IA y pricing: métricas de uso y valor

# # 29/11/2023

Estamos en un momento donde se están creando las soluciones que van a definir cómo trabajamos en las próximas décadas; me estoy refiriendo sobre todo a la Inteligencia Artificial Generativa.

Han salido soluciones rápidas que tienen un recorrido limitado, pero lo más importante es que se están creando las bases sobre las que van a correr los sistemas de información, relaciones entre servicios, extracción enriquecida de data etc.

Uno de los desafíos para las empresas que ya han comenzado a vender los productos basados en estas nueva tecnología, es poner el precio al cliente final.

Según Snowflake, uno de los referentes en venta de producto según uso, el precio debe cumplir 3 requisitos:

1/ Debe ser fácil de entender inmediatamente para los clientes. Tu métrica de valor no debe ser complicada.
2/ Debe alinearse con el valor percibido de tu solución y representar el valor que tus clientes creen que ofrece la solución.
3/ Debe escalar y crecer de forma coherente con el uso de tus clientes.

# Métricas de valor y métricas de uso

Cuando tu precio se basa en el uso debes elegir una métrica de valor a la que vaya asociada. Este es un desafío importante porque vives y mueres sobre la propuesta de valor que lleva vinculada esta métrica.

Para ello la solución IA que ofrezca una empresa al mercado debe ser decisiva y estar completamente integrada con el resto de soluciones o sistemas de información del negocio de su cliente.

El éxito va en función de lo decisivo que sea lo que resuelve, y para ello las empresa que están desarrollando soluciones de IA deben elegir la métrica adecuada.

El propósito de una métrica de valor es comunicar el valor de tu producto a los clientes. Demuestra que se entiende por qué los clientes te pagan por tu servicio.

# Tipos de métricas de valor

Depende del producto y el modelo de negocio de la empresa que desarrolla la solución IA.
En las actuales empresas que prestan servicios en la nube estos son los más comunes:

/ Espacio: Almacenamiento, Computación

/ Tiempo: horas, minutos

/ Rendimiento: Verificación de fraude, correo electrónico, SMS

/ Ventas: Dólares procesados

/ Recuento: Correos electrónicos, Verificación de antecedentes, Billetes, Contactos

Comparto un tabla resumen que han realizado en Mostly Metrics, donde han hecho un trabajo sensacional.

métricas de uso y métrica de valor IA
Infra = Infraestructura. Imagen de Mostly Metrics.

Los grandes conjuntos de métricas se engloban de la siguiente manera según el tipo de solución:

  • Infraestructura se basan en el consumo.
  • Middleware (software intermedio) se basan en el rendimiento.
  • Las aplicaciones horizontales y verticales se basan en recuento.

Una cuestión fundamental ahora es cómo van a elegir las empresa que desarrollan soluciones de inteligencia artificial su métrica de valor y su pricing para que se comprendan bien y fluya.

Profundiza -> Evolución de los modelos de negocio de código abierto

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Pricing framework

# # 14/09/2023

Warren Buffett often says that the most important element of a company, when he analyses it, is the pricing power of the company’s products.

Pricing power is the most important competitive advantage. This entails many things underneath; strong market positioning, product leadership, innovation or access to resources that the competition cannot.

Let’s take a look at a very simple but effective pricing framework, based on the experience of venture capitalist Tomasz Tunguz, who knows a lot about this subject.

There are four components of pricing: strategy, philosophy, structure and positioning.

#1 Strategy: goal of the price

There are three possible goals: gain market share (number of customers, volume), maximise our revenues or maximise our profits.

/ Gaining market share -> penetration
The product/service is sold at a low price, below market prices or if we are based on costs to breakeven or for some new products even without covering the costs. Once we have acquired a certain share and customer loyalty for that particular product, we then move on to the other two strategies, either by raising prices or expanding the range of associated services.

/ Maximising revenue -> maximization
This is about charging the maximum possible price to each customer. It usually works in market segments where our product is not differentiable from the rest.

/ Maximising profits -> skimming
This is a totally different strategy to the first one, although not totally opposite. We already have market share, customers know our product with a certain loyalty, what is done is to sell the product at a very high price and then continue to win with the customer with added products at low cost.This is what Apple, for example, tends to do.

#2 Philosophy: price relative to cost

There are two philosophies in pricing: cost-based pricing and value-based pricing.

In theory, the latter is best, but it is very difficult to apply and not all products or services can.In markets for non-differentiated products (commodities), cost-based pricing is the way to go. In the consulting market the best is value-based pricing, but you need a great brand, a great product and alternatives that are difficult to find.

Value-based pricing -> charging customer what they are willing to pay. Another way of looking at it is the value you add, e.g. money they save with your solution or money they earn with decisions based on your guidance.

An example of the latter that I have encountered with an external CFO client is a currency hedging company for B2B (specialising mainly in e-commerce); instead of charging hedging commissions, they charge based on what we gain or lose from hedging + the time their automation saves us.
In the latter case, we did not hire them because there are much cheaper alternatives and in our case they did not provide us with as much value.

#3 Structure: pricing rubric

The classification Tomas gives us here is for software companies, but we can apply it to any company.

/ Linear pricing: each product, service or unit of use costs the same.
/ 2 part tariff: a fee of X euros and from there a lower tariff.
/ 3 part tariff: a fee of x euros, a lump sum for x amount of products/services and a linear tariff once the initially contracted amount has been covered.

The most commonly used is the second one. And it makes a lot of sense because the company is assured of a minimum income. However research suggests that the third is the best.

#4 Positioning: communication of the price

In my experience, the most important determinant of pricing is positioning. This is determined by many strategic factors of the company and the product. A company that is poorly positioned or not very well positioned will never be able to have high or premium pricing because it will not be maintained over time.

There are 3 ways to position the price: per unit of consumption or service, per job or licensing agreement.

In order to know the right pricing strategy it is essential to know what are the needs and concerns of our customer, cost or value, what is their unit of measurement, a person, a gigabyte, an investment decision?

It is important for us to understand the implications of price changes (discounts, promotions etc) on cash generation and product margins.

It is important to work on this with product and especially marketing managers.

Finally, prices are not static, they change as the market changes and we need to be well positioned and understand customer needs to continue to have control over pricing.

The importance of Moats and how to measure them

# # 24/03/2023

We can define moats as competitive advantage of a company. What does this really mean? Basically to have a better business position than competitors.

This will allow the business to maintain and increase its profit margin and market share.

Warren Buffett once stated that the company itself can be seen as the equivalent of a castle and the value of the castle will be determined by the strength of the moat. In other words: the moat protects those inside the castle and prevents outsiders from entering the fortress.

How do you know your little company has a moat?, how you can measure it?

From financial point of view is quite simple. your company generate excess economic returns for a long period of time.

And this can measure wtih two factors:

1/ Your company has a Return On Invested Capital (ROIC) greater than its Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)

2/ The ROIC has maintained high and constant for a reasonable period of time in the past (in listed companies is considered to be 15 years).

Looking at the evolution of the gross margin and ROIC over the past decade can already give you a great indication. When both metrics are robust and (very) high, this is already a great sign that the company has a moat

kinds of moats

In general, there are 5 different kinds of moats:

  • Switching costs
  • Intangible assets
  • Network effects
  • Cost advantages
  • Efficient scale

This post can help you to go more in depth about the types of moats.