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Twitter Will Eat the Olympics! And Let’s Hope the Olympics Don’t Eat Twitter

The London Olympics are 7 hours away and Twitter will be at the center of it. From the official media channels to normal people, every triumph, defeat or important event during the Olympics is expected to be tweeted to millions in a near real time fashion. From a communications standpoint, Twitter is literally set to become the most important component of the games of XXX Olympiad.

Marc Andreessen’s famous post “Why Software is Eating the World” has never been more true. In only four years, Twitter has drastically changed the way the world publishes and consumes information related to the Olympics. We can expect entire events being narrated real time via Tweets and consumed in areas of the world inaccessible to the official media channels. In that sense, Twitter will make the Olympic spirit even more global and facilitate the exchange of news and passionate opinions between people from different races, economic backgrounds, religions, political standpoints at a scale we’ve never seen before.

Similarly, I believe the London Olympics are destined to influence part of Twitter’s future. From a communication flow and technology standpoint, Twitter is about to see an unparalleled phenomenon: 21 days of sustained global traffic spikes. Twitter wasn’t nearly as globally adopted during the Beijing Olympics as it is today and recent events such as the Arab Spring that has seen a lot of attention in the Tweetsphere has been of a shorter duration, geographically and demographically focused and of a lesser scale than the 2012 games.

It’s hard to imagine another technology that could be so pivotal to a global phenomenon like the Olympics. Without exaggerating, we can say that the games of the XXX Olympiad wouldn’t be the same without Twitter and the, still young software company, is about the witness the influence of its technology at a complete different scale.

Let the Tweetgames begin!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Yammer Factor: Network-Effect and Stickiness vs. IP

Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer has dominated the enterprise software news in the last few weeks. Almost unanimously, people have been surprised about the astonishing $1.2B that the Redmon giant was able to pay for a startup that offered a relatively simple solution that has produced less than $20M in revenue. Arguably, Microsoft would have been able to build 10 Yammers with that amount of money. However, by thinking that way we are overlooking the most important assets that Yammer, as a product, brings to the table and that is something Microsoft couldn’t simply build: we are referring to its network-effect and stickiness.

Intellectual property (IP) differentiation has been one of the hallmarks of the growth of enterprise software startups in the last 20 years. In the enterprise world, IT organizations has been well known for acquiring software based on specific IP value that sets it apart from the competition. As an enterprise software startup, having a unique IP was the easiest way to get the attention of customers. Additionally, every single enterprise software marketing  in the late 90ts early 2000s was intended to emphasize how a specific software was the only viable solution to an enterprise problem based on the unique algorithms or techniques it provided.

Contrary to the enterprise market, the consumer technology ecosystem didn’t rely so much on unique IP as the fundamental engine of growth of startups. Other factors such as the ability of ubiquitously acquire customer and convert those customers into regular and long term users of your product were more relevant when evaluating the viability of a consumer market technology.

During recent years, the enterprise software industry has started to embraced the principles of the consumer market and drastically shifted from being and IP centric business to acquire software based on other elements such as simplicity, easy delivery etc. As a result, you can see how most widely successful modern enterprise software startups rarely focus on offering a unique IP and, instead, emphasize on factors that facilitate the easy acquisition and adoption of their software. From those elements, there are two that have been central to the core DNA of any successful software startup in the last few years: network-effect and stickiness.

By network-effect we refer to the characteristic that facilitates users or your product to acquire new users. Complimentary, successful enterprise software product have the ability of evolve into a vital piece of an organization once they are adopted by a few users: we refer to this factory as stickiness.

The reason why network-effect and stickiness are becoming increasingly more important than unique IP is because they facilitate a scalable and natural way to acquire long-term customers. In the world of the mobile, cloud and social enterprise, network-effect and stickiness are, in a lot of scenarios, better indicators of the potential success of an enterprise software product than unique IP.

If you think about the recent generation of successful software startups, you will quickly notice the network effect and stickiness elements embedded into every aspect of their products. Similarly, these companies will hardly market IP elements that make their product unique compared to the competition. In an enterprise world desperately driving towards consumerized models, the ability of transforming customers into sellers and becoming a key part of their everyday life is largely more important than providing a patented solution to a problem.

What do you think? Are network-effect and stickiness more important than unique IP in the enterprise software world?

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 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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