A word from Equidam co-founder Gianluca Valentini.
Earlier, we shared insights on technologies that are empowering FinTech. Today lets talk about new trends in enterprise software for 2015 and beyond.
Enterprise software seems to be back on the verge after a decade or so dominated by consumer software. It started with the doom of the dotcom bubble (which was mainly enterprise driven) and was reinvigorated by the advent of mobile with the IPhone revolution.
In the first phase, the focus has mainly been enabling communication among consumers, and the market showed a huge appetite for that. Microsoft Messenger (1999) has been extremely successful the first years of the past decade. Then came Skype, LinkedIn, MySpace and finally Facebook (to mention the success stories), but also others, less famous networks like Friendster, Hi5 (both which are still active, btw.). Also “World of Warcraft” and “Mine Craft” could be grouped in this category and we all know how popular they still are … to the tune of a $1 billion powerhouse and $2.5 billion acquisition, respectively.
The second wave of consumer-driven software was boosted by mobile; which today is everywhere and has affected consumers’ lives like only few other examples of innovation have done. Nowadays enterprise solutions seem to have experienced a rebirth, and this is strictly correlated to the disruption mobile has brought us.
Here are the trends entrepreneurs should keep an eye on as the new breed of enterprise software arises.
User Experience and Gamification
Employees are consumers alike expect the enterprise software adopted by their employer (or an organization) to offer a comparable level of design and experience, as well as support across mobile devices or new programming languages. The mantra of old-school enterprise software suppliers—“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”—is quickly coming to its last days. Now usability, design and experience will have a more marked importance in enterprise buying decisions, as the level of intuition employees experience and develop with mobile and other consumer-facing solutions offer unprecedented opportunities for improved productivity.
Data-driven Solutions and the App-store effect
Hardware and software is the past. Today, enterprise solutions are cloud-based and there is no turning back. Salesforce.com has been a pioneer in the field and opened the path to everything that followed. But cloud hosting is only one of the benefits of this trend. There are at least two complementary outcomes of online connectivity which are right under our noses and yet hard to see.
The leverage of online knowledge, a pure example of crowd-shared knowledge, keeps on growing at an exponential rate. And we are still far from it’s peak, especially with the coming wave of innovation defined within The Internet of Things (IoT). Offering an enterprise solution that can filter and display valuable information to enterprises will simply be a new standard; especially as companies demand more and more real-time data about, not only, their own operations, but those of other companies in their sector.
Also, we can’t ignore the integration of multiple cloud solutions, which could be named the “app-store effect”. Compared to traditional enterprise software, today’s solutions are highly specialized (with few expectations) and are, more importantly, highly interconnected. Platforms like Salesforce.com, for instance, are the “app-store” of add-ons of complementary and adjacent solutions, thus offering enterprises a higher level of flexibility in tailoring the perfect solution for their needs. At the same time, having multiple vendors offers more guarantees of constant updates and easier on-demand customization when compared to gigantic pieces of software like SAP or Oracle. Not to mention price advantages. APIs are, and will keep on, playing a crucial role in this highly interconnected scenario.
Commoditization of Business Services
Business services, in the form of consultancies, will be gradually replaced by enterprise platforms making more knowledge and expertise available. The transition will initially work as collaboration, having consulting businesses engaging and delivering their services by online means (think about online bookkeeping) at a flat rate, to then having enterprise customers internalizing the expertise and relying on software alone. This will most likely affect low-end consultancy services, where little or no customer-specific work is required and it will be adopted from small businesses. We are already mid-way in this trend, as we experienced with bookkeeping, HR services, or even marketing (think about HubSpot).
All in all, enterprise software (or better cloud enterprise solutions), will most likely play a predominant role in the coming years, and several B2B companies will get under the spotlight for financing rounds or IPOs. Moreover, The Internet of Things (IoT) still has to show its true, disrupting power.
Equidam is of course looking at these developments very closely and working on integration of these technologies to improve our valuation service for all of our users. More on our tech stack and our future developments will be posted in the coming weeks, stay tuned!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Gianluca Valentini is the Co-founder of Equidam, a a cloud technology and financial services company providing tools for SME evaluations; helping both entrepreneurs and professionals gain access to better data analysis tools. Valentini studied Economics and Law at the University of Padova (Italy) and graduated cum laude from the MSc Finance & Investment at the Rotterdam School of Management. His aim is to work on seed capital and early stage transactions by improving capital allocation to innovative ventures. Connect with @Equidamtweets on Twitter.
Editors Note: Not familiar with how enterprise software applies to your business? Enterprise software, also known as enterprise application software (EAS), is purpose-designed computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization rather than individual users. Such organizations can vary from businesses, schools, interest-based user groups and clubs, retailers, or governments.