I was a panelist at the MITCNC event Enterprise 3.0: Where is it Headed? on Wednesday this week. The topic was subtitled "the impact of Web 2.0 on the prosumers" and was the first in a series of panels on Web 2.0's impact on the enterprise software market.
The other panelists were:
- Tim Harvey, VP Planning, Webex, Cisco Systems
- Jonathan Rochelle, Product Manager, Google Docs and Spreadsheets
- Tom Cole, General Partner, Trinity Ventures
It was an enjoyable event with good questions from the floor, although it trod much of the same ground as the past couple of years of SIIA On-Demand and SaaScon conferences. That is to say the by-now standard list of benefits (ease of adoption, rapid releases, ... ) and concerns (security, data migration and integration, ...).
I'm a bit troubled by terms like Enterprise 3.0 (and even Web 2.0) which seem vague and created mostly as a platform for punditry.
That said, I did get into the spirit of things and suggested three tenets of an environment where enterprise applications are delivered as services from the cloud:
- Mass customization would be a requirement for any complex business process. In other words, customers would demand as much flexibility from the cloud as they do from the customized in-house solutions they use today. That requires an architecture which allows for flexible schema and business logic, and it's a daunting prospect. Microsoft's architecture evangelism team has developed some best practice implementations on that topic and for more on that subject, read Fred Chong's and Gianpaolo Carraro's blogs. I used Dave Duffield's company, Workday, as a great example of a revolutionary architecture, and you can read about it here (you may have to register).
- Services delivered as (and subsidizing) software. I've written about this before, but the basic premise is this:
- software -- including business software -- can be subsidized by someone other than the people who use it the most. A couple of examples stand out: Rearden Commerce and Klir Technologies. Both Klir (IT monitoring) and Rearden (procurement) provide direct business value to their enterprise customers. However, both companies have found a way to make their user community valuable to other service providers: Rearden to the folks whose products are being procured (Amex's travel services for example), and Klir to the companies (like Cisco or Dell) whose IT equipment is being monitored. Sadly, Klir didn't make the transition to profitability when they moved to the SaaS model, but that doesn't invalidate the model.
- The Rise of the Platforms. The future behemoths imho will be the providers of pervasive and general services, like storage ( e.g. Amazon's S3), streaming (like Microsoft's Silverlight Streaming Service, and the current big players in services, like American Express and UPS who are already extending their current specialties into business services for enterprises and consumers.
A couple of other posts on the event:
From Sramana, the moderator
From Zoli Erdos, an attendee