I am at the Software 2006 event today in Santa Clara. This is M.R.’s conference and if you have been around enterprise software for any amount of time you no doubt know that M.R. is the penultimate insider in this business… the guy that has every exec’s cell number on speed dial and vice versa.
M.R. is going through an interesting set of slides reflecting on 2004 and 2005 conferences which focused on offshoring and consolidation, and this year proclaiming “ecosystem health” as the conference theme.
Reality #1: quiet and dramatic revolution. CIO’s are increasing their spending and venture investment remains strong in support of new models and technologies (SaaS, Open Source, SOA). In my view this is somewhat questionable in that I think VC’s are slightly frightened away by enterprise software deals because they don’t understand them or they don’t see a clean path to exit. But having said that, enterprise deals are getting funded, they just don’t look like enterprise startups of years past.
Web 2.0 in the enterprise has big potential because businesses will pay for what consumers expect for free. I agree with this, and that’s just one reason why I invested in Socialtext. However, even in these slides web 2.0 is portrayed as blogs/wikis/rss/podcasts/etc. rather than the underlying trends that are driving these innovations – collaboration.
The theme of this years conference is a thriving and healthy ecosystem. I remember talking with Geoffrey Moore at our campus a few years ago and he made a really interesting statement about companies in years forward will end up competing on the strength of their “systems” as in partner and developer ecosystems, rather than the technology systems they were building. In many ways he was foreshadowing the major driver behind open source in the enterprise.
The agenda for the conference over the next couple of days is really strong, including keynotes by Ray Lane, Shai Agassi, Thomas Kurion, Simon Witts, Mark Bregman, and more. I’ll be here for most of the two days and will blog as much as I can. If there are specific things you are interested in, please drop me a note or a comment on any of the posts.
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