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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Enterprise Software System : More Innovation Ahead

Innovative software ecosystem is propelling the recovery and growth of the high tech industry – this is the key message of the sandhill customer survey of enterprise software users. Pointing out that innovation is happening at the industry level and not at the product level –MR in his opening note at Software 2007 said the innovative streak can be seen in advances in the form of SaaS, SOA, Vertical Apps, Enterprise 2.0, Delivery innovation etc. Taken as a whole – these have far reaching effects when these intersect.

Such a model of innovation gives more than adequate role for small players to participate and at a time when IT spend is expected to be more or less flattish, the investment commitment made for software in the sandhill.com administered survey shows an increased outlay for software purchase! Good news indeed. This time the event has become really big with internal pavilions & innovation showcase areas. It was good to see Hasso talking about the new SME focused product that SAP is all set to unveil – the key is this is fully centered on on-demand model(though on premise model shall also be supported). Plattner says the yet-to-be-named project involves a completely new code base different from SAP's existing suite - this is a massive one - Hasso says that this has been under development for over three years, with more than 3,000 developers. Key takeaway - The system shall have all services exposed - this means that all features of the software will be accessible either through a Web browser or through “smart client” software - additional functionaliites would be rendered here.

HP’s Shane Robinson succinctly captured the shifts that are happening forcing giants like HP to shift their R&D allocation from software – hardware ratio of 30:70 to 70: 30 today. Some of the shifts he brought out are quite interesting:

Consumer Vs Enterprise to Consumer + Enterprise
Hardware Vs Software to Hardware + Software
Individual Productivity to Communication + Collaboration
Connecting Devices to Connecting users to services

And a few more…

No wonder all the recent acquisitions of HP is in the software field. Mark Benioff was his usual self – very articulate & humorous while the CIO panel moderated by Ernest von Simson, Senior Partner, Ostriker von Simson with Panelists - Neil Cameron, CIO, Unilever; Rob Carter, CIO, FedEx; Patricia Morrison, CIO, Motorola; Tony Scott, CIO, The Walt Disney Company was quite focused and had a great advice to vendors:
Tony Scott,Disney: Drop this "we are the greatest in the world" thing and give me an implementation strategy so I can bring this across my company.
Motorola: 12k engineers and we have tons of software that isn't warranted and indemnified. My plea to the industry is quality. The amount of time we put down bugs.
Neil Cameron,Unilever: Fantastic. Absolutely.
Rob Carter, FedEx: Every time we add something new, we get more cost an complexity. This is a relationship oriented business and you have to cut through the noise, provide technology migration strategies. We just don't have time for all the opportunities that come at us.
Bullishness, growth, innovation, a sense of recognition that small players would also begin to not only survive but also force change on the larger ecosystem – all bode well for the enterprise software industry’s future.

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