by Chris Stone

Software companies should be disrupting industries, not workflows

Apr 04, 2017
Cloud ComputingEnterprise ApplicationsOpen Source

The software world needs to stop getting distracted by the competition.

It’s time to rethink how software and platform services work, and go back to where we started — helping digital teams work better.

Believe it or not, enterprise organizations often come with systems and tools already in place. Teams take months to master new software, and it’s highly impractical to suggest that competing solutions don’t have tactical value, or that people are willing to change vendors at the drop of a hat. Once we accept that competitors may be beneficial to your customers in one way or another, we can start rethinking how the SaaS/PaaS industry functions, and move forward with the customer in mind rather than the competitor.

A gap in the universal product suite

Too many enterprise tech companies are laser focused on offering the most robust and innovative products into the market, and in doing so they leave a substantial hole. With nearly every aspect of a digital team’s workflow now streamlined by various new tools (dozens in each category), this gap may be hard to identify, but it exists; and it’s not in the products themselves but in their practicality and use cases. The focus of the conversation should instead be about integration—connecting to different systems and tapping into more (and more useful) data.

Software companies are holding one another back. Vendor lock-in is forcing organizations to choose one vendor over the rest, regardless of the team’s unique needs or the underlying value in using two different solutions at once. This isn’t new, but it is finally being challenged by open source and the layering effect of new technologies. Fortunately, there is a level of flexibility that’s emerging throughout the enterprise tech industry. Vendors are beginning to realize that companies with websites and digital assets built on Drupal, WordPress, Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google Cloud Platform may find value in a product that doesn’t fit neatly on top of each of these platforms. Addressing this reality—and acting on it—has potential to reshape the SaaS/PaaS industry as we know it.

Flexibility is no passing phase

Developers building a continuous deployment (or a “pipelines” workflow) environment need flexibility as well as full integration within a cloud platform, and digital marketers need personalization capabilities that work with their existing ecommerce platforms, content services and CRM systems. Flexibility challenges will not dissipate. In fact, they are only going to become more complex. As new technologies like conversational UI’s, machine learning and orchestration services become more prevalent, they will have a large impact on implementation.

When it comes down to it, digital teams need services that allow for competing solutions to work on top of one another. Stepping up to fill this void may come off as a red flag from a high level business perspective, but could be a saving grace on the ground. It’s time we recognize that offering everyday value should be a top priority, and locking each other out can do more harm than good. Prioritizing the customer over the competition means offering products that support businesses regardless of their current product suite or cloud platform. Vendors who do so have a chance to rise above the rest.  

An industry reimagined

It’s time we take a step back and reorient an industry where competition is beating the consumer. Funny enough, developing new products that work on top of competing solutions is easier done than said. This investment may seem risky on the surface, but its undeniable value for digital teams of all shapes and sizes could be the most effective route to widespread enterprise adoption, and pave the way for a software industry reimagined.