Sunday, February 3, 2008

Brave New World?

It’s February and winter is nearly over here in New Hampshire. Well, maybe not. But it’s nice to have an extra hour of daylight since the start of winter and the snow is starting to recede a bit. But, this is New Hampshire and it’s always wise to temper one’s optimism for an early spring. After all, the groundhog has said six more weeks of winter (ten in New Hampshire).

Recently I’ve been spending some time in “the valley” where the weather hasn’t been much better (cold and rainy). However, some software companies that I’ve visited have a pretty sunny outlook on the future, and with good cause. Here’s why:

  1. Acquisition mania, which has led to the near total demise of “pure-plays” has created significant complexity and confusion with “mega vendors”. This has led to a slowdown in sales, a decline in employee morale, and opportunity for smaller, more agile vendors, with a simple message and little or no baggage.
  2. Entrepreneurial/innovator types rarely stick around long at mega vendors. This has freed up the main ingredient of innovation (really smart and talented people). I’ve met many of them in recent weeks. Joining ranks with smaller concerns, they bring energy, enthusiasm, experience and a pent up desire to “get it right this time”.
  3. Almost all of the emerging software vendors that I’ve spoken to recently are focused on selling to the business and not the IT department. Often they solve tough business problems, faster and cheaper than many internal IT functions can (e.g., this fiscal year not next). This obviously creates some internal tension and these vendors have taken to checking under their cars before leaving the customer site.

I try to resist new buzzwords like “BI 2.0”, but there’s definitely something different going on. This market is changing dramatically. It’s exciting and invigorating and I’m enjoying being a part of it. But, for now, I’ll hold off trying to name it.

See you out there,


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