Jeff Devine

I only tell you what to do because I love you

Enterprise Software Will Not Be Missed

On Wednesday, I’m on a call with Big Vendor #1, and they are very interested in expanding their business with my employer. They are sure that upgrading to their premium API makes sense, so I ask my typical line of “techie” questions about REST vs SOAP and I get the typical, “We’ll talk to our tech people and get back to you.”

In their follow-up email, they send me a high-level PowerPoint and provide a URL I should “send to my techies and see what they think.” Clearly I must not know my ass from a compiler.

On Thursday, I’m in a meeting with Even Bigger Vendor #2, and they are very interested in expanding their business with my employer. Surely using their newly acquired rules engine will solve all my company’s risk-management needs. My concern that they were providing a technological solution for a business problem that doesn’t exist didn’t stop them at all. They spent the rest of the meeting speaking down to me as if I was clearly a techonlogist who could never understand “Real World” business problems.

My years of experience in P&C Insurance and intimate knowledge of my company’s problems were trumped by Vendor #2’s countless years selling Websphere to investment banks.

Both vendors followed up the very next day, eager to know how soon we could move forward. Neither vendor took the time to get to know me, my place in the company and what I could offer to better position them. Why would I ever give them the keys to the kingdom?

When it comes to vendors, relationships are everything. An Enterprise Software company, whose only connection to a customer is its army of faceless, apathetic sales team, will not survive in the long run.

Anyone with an idea, a credit card, and the passion to succeed has access to world-class infrastructure. Regardless of your opinion of what cloud computing is or is not: it is a new paradigm, giving anyone the ability to compete on the same level as established players.

It isn’t the silver bullet nor does it guarantee success, but it does change the game. It will take time, years perhaps, but the Enterprise Software industry doesn’t stand a chance.

Acquisitions may buy you people and technology, but you can never acquire agility or passion.