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Enterprise Software Lessons: The User is not The Buyer

Last weekend I was reading a fabulous article by Roman Stanek on which he presented a series of arguments that demonstrate that, despite movements like the consumerization of IT, enterprise software remains very old school. When debating about the article with a colleague, we found ourselves having a very interesting discussions about the hidden factors that still cause enterprises to resist revolutionary movements like the consumerization of the enterprise. Among those factors, there is one that enterprise software startups almost always managed to ignore: in the enterprise, users are not necessarily the buyers.

The intrinsic characteristics of the enterprise software sales model represents a major difference about the acquisition and monetization process between enterprise and consumer software technologies. In the enterprise, software products are typically either targeting hundreds or thousands of users or providing important infrastructure functionalities that will be used by dozens of applications. Either case is sufficient for enterprise software products to be subjected to various approval and compliance processes that go well beyond the acceptance of the initial users.

Why is this important?

Well, as an enterprise software startup, you need to understand the dynamics of enterprise software sales models and surround your product with the right sales models that help it navigate the technology acquisition processes in the enterprise. Here are a few suggestion I found useful:

  • Find a champion: The most important aspect of an enterprise software sales process is to find the right people within your customer’s organization that are so in love with your product that they are willing to champion it’s adoption within the enterprise.
  • Give your champion incentives and ammunitions to sale your product”: Now that you’ve found your champion, you need to offer him the right materials, tools, incentives and other elements so he/she can be effective socializing your product within the enterprise.
  • Reduce friction: As a principle, enterprises tend to resist disruptive changes. If you have the option, make sure your product is easy to acquire in a non-invasive mode.
  • Speak at different levels: Sales processes in the enterprise involve people that are not the target audience of your product. Regardless of whether you are selling to developers, IT Pros, marketing, etc make sure you can present the value proposition of your technology from different standpoints like executive, technical or sales that are easily understandable by the different groups in the enterprise.
  • Be patient: Selling to enterprises is a bit of a chess game, you have to stay patient and make the right moves at the right time.
 
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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s Now or Never for Enterprise Software

A few months ago I wrote a small article detailing some of the big challenges of enterprise software. For years, enterprise software has been synonymous with complexity, big spending and hard to maintain. However, we are starting to see clear signs that times are changing for enterprise software. From the massive acquisitions of SaaS vendors RightNow and SucessFactors to the fairly successful IPO of the not-yet profitable Jive Software, we are entering a renaissance of enterprise software which, somewhat shockingly, is not being led by the traditional big boys: Microsoft, IBM, Oracle or SAP.

This wave of change in the enterprise software space is a direct consequence of the fact that we are living in what can arguably be considered the most exciting time in the history of the software industry. These days we are having the privilege to witness the convergence of some the most amazing technology revolutions in the last two decades of computer science.  These technology movements have already disrupted the consumer software space and are starting to make serious inroads in the enterprise.

In addition to the technology momentum, it’s important to realize that IT organizations are ready and even eager to embrace change. The experience of interacting with hundreds customers adopting Moesion convinced me that IT professionals are ready to embrace enterprise software that is innovative, simple to use and manage, and that solves real business problems using the newest technology trends.

If you are in the enterprise software space, whether you are a software vendor or an IT organization, you have a unique opportunity to influence change. Some of the following technology movements should help you to accomplish that.

Cloud

Cloud computing models are actively disrupting traditional enterprise application models. While Software as a Service (SaaS) packages are leading the way as the predominant mechanism for delivering traditional line of business applications such as CRM, HR or ERP systems, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) models are becoming increasingly popular models for achieving elastic computing and storage. Finally, Platform as a Service (PaaS) infrastructures are streamlining the cloud application development lifecycle.

Mobility

Mobility is arguably the biggest trend in today’s enterprise software horizon. With the number of connected devices moving from desktops to smartphones and tablets, the ability to consume traditional line of business functionalities from mobile devices sits high on the priority list of IT executives.

Social

Social mechanics a la Facebook or Twitter are slowly becoming an important element of enterprise software packages. Techniques such as tagging, commenting or lightweight messaging are helping to enhance the communication and interactions between people within your business.

Big Data

Slowly but steadily big data technologies are gaining space within the enterprise. The need to effectively leverage and analyze the increasingly growing volume of information processed by an organization is a key element towards achieving competitive advantage in the modern enterprise.

Gamification

Games are not only super cool but a great mechanism to engage audiences. With the explosion of games in the social space, companies are looking to leverage social gaming mechanics to more effectively interact with customers and partners.

It’s important to notice that these technology revolutions are not only changing software but the economics of it. Technologies such as cloud, mobility or social computing are leveling the playing field for new and innovative technology companies that want to make enterprise software sexy again. With all these technology revolutions happening at the same time, and consumer technology setting up a high bar for innovation, it’s hard to imagine a better time to disrupt enterprise software.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Latest Speaking Engagements

I’ve been so busy lately with the activities around Moesion that I haven’t had time to blog about a couple of great conferences I had the opportunity to speak at in the last two months.

Software Architect Conference, UK (http://www.software-architect.co.uk/)

This conference is becoming one of my favorite events of the year. As always Nick Payne and his team did a remarkable job lining up an all-star group of speakers that covered some of the hottest topics in today’s software industry.

The first day of the conference I had the opportunity to speak about NOSQL databases from a .NET developer perspective to a very enthusiastic crowd that packed the room and bombarded me with tons of smart questions. You can find the slide deck below.

After that, I presented a session about WCF tips and tricks that covered a lot of the lessons we have learned when working on large SOA solutions with customers as well as during the development of SO-Aware.

Cloud Computing Expo, CA(http://cloudcomputingexpo.com)

The Cloud Computing Expo is slowly becoming the most important cloud computing conference of the year. This edition hosted speakers from the most important cloud computing vendors in the current market. I had the opportunity of presenting a session about one of my favorite topics these days: Enterprise Mobility. Without exaggerating, I can rate this session as one of my best experiences speaking at a conference.

The room was packed and people were literally standing during the entire hour. The audience was completely engaged on the topic and they literally stayed for another 45 mins after the session asking questions and participating in the discussions. I was extremely exhausted that evening after haven’t flown 6 hrs from Miami, presented a Moesion webinar ,  met partners,  customers, etc but the  audience made a complete difference in my experience. I would really like to thank to anybody who attended that session. Below you can find the slide deck of that presentation.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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