Enterprise software is the wallflower of the computing world, it’s dance card is always open. It’s typically approached begrudgingly and even then usually only out of a sense of compassion, mercy, or at the prodding of others. That assessment may in fact be optimistic.
Many in the field would liken using their enterprise software solution to visiting the dentist office. No one likes going we just know it’s good for us. No matter what industry or solution provider the same dilemma confronts IT management across the board. How to appropriately incentivize usage or penalize those that work around the system.
In order to win the battle for user adoption you must deliver a compelling user experience. Computer gaming, social networking, and consumer software do this very well but this concept has been somewhat lost on the enterprise.
I used to do business development for a SaaS startup in Austin and in my one on one’s with the CEO I could always count on the same question. Where is the sex? The first few times I heard the question I thought, here’s a guy who is clearly abusing our lax policing of internet usage. But then it hit me. He wanted to know what I was doing to generate excitement and foster enthusiasm. It’s a valid point and is just as necessary in sales as in software. Unfortunately for the rest of us, sales guys are inherently more sexy than most software folks. Sales guys have a James Bond debonair while most IT types race home to jump on World of Warcraft or Xbox live.
It is of no surprise then that a sales guy is revolutionizing the enterprise software industry. Marc Benioff is single handedly evolving the enterprise and changing the way we think about software and he’s doing it by bringing sexy back. Or at least making the introduction and chaperoning the first date. That jittery wallflower the enterprise is getting wined and dined and receiving a cinderella style makeover that has been too long in coming. Not to say that Salesforce hasn’t been pioneering, shaping, perhaps even inventing cloud computing as we know it, but with the Chatter GA release around the corner you can’t help but agree with Marc, we are about to see the greatest revolution in enterprise software, ever.
The Facebook imperative is taking shape. The proliferation of social networking innovation has hit a fever pitch and those design patterns are trickling down to transform how we do business. The world is changing and Salesforce is leading the way.