About the software part of the ecosystem…and women’s shoes….

February 28, 2010Blog Standard

This is the most glamorous and most “watched” component of the CIO’s ecosystem, maybe also the most critical and the one which will be most impacted by new trends.
I recently had dinner with a successful enterprise software exeutive. He has spent years selling software to enterprise CIOs and understands the business very well. He started his career selling shoes to women..and said he was pretty good at it….and he was very successful in selling software too!
“I found some similarity in both”, he said. “In both cases, managing perception of the customer and making them feel that it is a “must-have” is important”.
On a more serious note, he also admitted that in 90s he could truly establish a linkage where the software gave his customers a competitive advantage and delivered real business value…which today is not as visible and clear and tangible as it was earlier. There are too many me-too software vendors and ISVs have been selling too much of software at too high a price without delivering enough of value.
A CIO on defensive will mean that the software vendors are going to be much more on defensive.
The CIOs will demand lower costs of license and lower costs on recurring maintenance. In cases where enterprises have built a spaghetti of too many applications, rationalisation will be a clear goal thus impacting the recurring revenue to ISVs from enterprises.
Open Source software is a very real threat, SaaS is no longer a “fringe” and is a “must-have” part of business model for all software companies, and third party maintenance companies like Rimini street are attacking the “cash-cows” of assured support revenues which were the cushion to help them meet quarterly numbers.
If one has to choose one sector which will be most impacted by CIO’s defensive posture, it is the enterprise software sector.

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Ajit Sathe

I agree managing perception is important. One can always draw analogies to anything…in this case women shoes…We are not having a situation where enterprise software is available on the shelf of a store where a person can go briefly try it and reject or purchase…once consumerism achieves this we would be in a more comparitive world…
Software ecosystem has more to do with managing business/systematizing operations and ease of use….i have been wanting to know if the role of the CIO is vanishing surely but steadily…one is empowering the business user and he is also becoming more tech savvy and with cloud computing taking some solid ground, CIO would be relegated to the lines…you would have a CEO donning the role of using information better for decision supoport rather than outsource it o a CEO – probably his admin would be a more IT oriented person…what say?

Anirudh Joshi

An email comment from an experienced Account Manager for a software company, based in Bay Area…
“Hello and thanks for your insights. As usual, I believe you are "right on the spot!" A recent survey by a cloud SAAS software provider found that today's decision makers are:

39% C-level execs

16% IT Managers / Directors

13% Software Developers

Marketing and Sales strategies need to be integrated to deliver a compelling ROI message … and to articulate HOW what WE do will impact THEIR sales / accelerate THEIR growth.

Being a female, I got a kick out of the "must have" comment about a new pair of shoes. I believe the shoe / sw salesman is right: it’s our duty to prove why we’re better in a concise & clear message.”


I think comparing the 90s to now is like comparing the 80s to the 90s..The big change between 80s and 90s in computing was that hardware became a lot more of a commodity; thats whats happening with software now, esp. in the enterprise. Back in the 90s, you could only look to MS, ORCL, SAP etc for enterprise software, and CIOs didn't have a choice. Now with the internet, open source, and a lot more increased players in the field, people can demand more – more quality, more features, less cost.

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