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Friday, October 12, 2007

Enterprise Software : Accelerated Innovation Is the Key

M.R.Rangaswami writes on what ails the enterprise software industry.

They say that youth is fleeting. In the enterprise software industry, the youth are fleeing.One need only look at the hairlines of today’s software leaders. The current wunderkinds are not looking to create the next wave of corporate computing applications, but are instead gravitating toward emerging fields, such as web 2.0, biotech, and anything “green.” Bill Gates was 19 when he founded Microsoft (MSFT). Steve Jobs started Apple (AAPL) at 21. Even Marc Benioff was in his 30s when he founded Salesforce.com (CRM) — and at 42, he remains one of the industry’s youngsters. Software companies need to do more to attract the next generation of business leaders who will drive the evolution of the industry for decades to come.

MR is very perceptive in his observation that the industry is dominated by old hands.His prescription for rejuvenating the industry is indeed insightful and the approach very fresh.
To be fair, the enterprise software industry continues to chug along with some advances. SaaS applications enable business to experience an increasing number of best-of-breed solutions for features such as ecommerce, human resources (HR) performance management, and product life-cycle management, all of which have been extended to incorporate on-demand delivery options without IT overhead required. Improved implementation methodologies, from preconfigured templates to expanded professional services resource capacity characterize the ecosystem today. Faster rollouts, global scale ups – all these are becoming commonplace. The future of the market leaders in this space will be largely defined by their ability to win over business users by addressing their pain points and helping them achieve common corporate goals I think innovation –accelerated innovation is the key to advancements in the enterprise software industry.
I think innovation – accelarated innovation is the key to advancements in the enterprise software industry. I think the wave of consumerism engulfing the tech world is challenging the halo of enterprise software. As I wrote here, In this age of contribution economy – a phenomenon that we are seeing ever since the Internet started to connect everyone to everyone else all the time, people from around the world can more easily contribute leading to exploding results - caused by the coming together of energy, ideas, and knowledge. Some of the more familiar examples of these collaborative efforts include blogs, open-source software, podcasts, and even the nonprofit online encyclopedia Wikipedia. We are also seeing customers leading the charge of innovation and the economist article on user-led innovation exemplifies a new form of collaboration. The rise of online communities, together with the development of powerful and easy-to-use design tools, seems to be boosting the phenomenon.
I am optimistic about the enterprise software world embracing innovation centered around consumerism sooner than later - The impact of consumerization on enterprise and opportunities to leverage such advances are all groomed in the consumer space itself. The transition of such things into enterprise IT thereby happens automatically – in a way, advances in consumer space dictates the corresponding fallout in the enterprise space. True, but difficult to believe – right? Someone referred this phenomenon as akin to a civil war. An analysis of the past shows that in a significant number of cases the technologies that were originally focused on consumer space have made deep impact over time have made deep impact on the enterprise space – Personal computers, search, IM all are shining examples of this powerful trend. Native web companies keep coming out with a lot of full blown but trial offerings that entices lot many more consumers and many a times a revenue and utilization value evolves out of more and more usage of such offerings. In the process the consumer space gets more and richer forcing successful offering to be pushed into the enterprise –in larger numbers and faster pace.

MR is in a way definitely right – a mixture of more young people along with some of the best minds (who could be older)driving the enterprise industry would make this transition happen faster.

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