The New Software Industry: Ray Lane

I’m at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View attending the New Software Industry conference, put on by Carnegie Mellon West and the Haas School of Business. I interviewed a few of the people from CMU West a few months ago about the new Masters of Software Management program, and ended up being invited to attend here today. Since I’m down here for TUCON this week, it was just a matter of coming in a day early and fighting the traffic down from the city this morning (although I left San Francisco at 7:30 this morning, I still arrived late, around 9:15).

Unfortunately, I missed the brief opening address which, according to the program, featured Jim Morris, Dean of CMU West, and Tom Campbell, Dean of Haas, so my day started with Ray Lane of Kleiner Perkins (formerly of Oracle) talking about the personal enterprise, or what I would call Enterprise 2.0.

Lane started with a discussion about how the software industry is changing, including factors such as packaging (including SaaS) and vertical focus. I found it interesting, if not exactly surprising, that he has a very American-centric view of the industry, so that he’s really talking about the software industry in the U.S., not the global industry; he spoke about India and China gaining market share in software as some sort of external force as opposed to part of the industry.

He had some interesting points: a call to action, which including leveraging community power via mashups and other collaborative methods; and a look at how platforms are moving from monoliths to clouds (i.e., services exist in cloud and are called as required). He covered some basic about Web 2.0 and web-driven capabilities. Since I’ve been so immersed in this for such a long time, there wasn’t much new here for me, although he had some interesting examples, particularly about collaboration and user-driven content.

He talked about the “personal enterprise”, where consumer web applications inspire new enterprise applications, or what many of us have been talking about as Enterprise 2.0. He makes a great point that somehow, being at home allows us to just try something new online, whereas the act of going into the office makes us want to spend a year evaluating rather than just trying something, and how we need to change that notion.

He gave seven laws for Enterprise 2.0 applications:

  • serves individual needs
  • viral/organic adoption
  • contextual personalize information
  • no data entry or training required
  • delivers instantaneous value
  • utilizes community, social relationships
  • minimum IT footprint

I’d love to expand further on each of these, but I’m trying to get this conference blogging back to something like real-time, so that will have to wait for another post.

He finished up with some examples of personal enterprise applications, with some discussion about what each of them contributed to advancing software industry business models:

  • Services: Webex, Skype, RIM, Google
  • Applications:, NetSuite, RightNow
  • Collaboration: SuiteTwo, Visible Path

Access to the Microsoft guest wifi is tightly guarded and requires an hour or so turnaround to get login credentials, so this first post is coming out late and the other will trickle along throughout the day. All of the posts for this conference are available here.

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