…. I giganti dell’IT continuano a dominare il mercato dell’Information Technology nella dimensione che oggi viene comunemente classificata come Enterprise Computing
. Tuttavia, pur mantenendo una posizione di leadership, si trovano nella condizione di dovere aggiornare e adattare la propria offerta coerentemente con le discontinuità tecnologiche e di mercato: il cloud
, innanzitutto, e il mobile computing
. Una condizione che replica quanto successo in passato con l’affermazione del client server e del personal computing e quanto ripetutamente è accaduto a seguito della ciclicità dello stack IT che supporta applicazioni e servizi enterprise. La grande differenza rispetto al passato è che i vendor non devono soltanto aggiornare la dimensione tecnologica, ma devono trovare validi modelli di go to market. Non è solo una questione di passaggio dal computing on premises al cloud, dal licensing tradizionale alla tariffazione a consumo. Il problema è che progressivamente i decision maker non sono più esclusivamente i Chief Information Officer
, ovvero i responsabili dei sistemi informativi, ma coloro che presiedono ai vari dipartimenti: marketing, vendite, risorse umane…. In base a uno studio dell’agosto scorso Enterprise Strategy Group
afferma che circa il 50% degli acquisti IT sono influenzati o decisi dai singoli dipartimenti. Per i vendor tutto ciò si trasforma in una vera e propria sfida: adattare la propria offerta e i propri modelli di vendita in funzione di questi nuovi interlocutori. Un tendenza che si manifesta più compiutamente negli Stati Uniti, ma che tende progressivamente ad affermarsi anche in Europa.Peter Levine
, general partner di Andreessen Horowitz
, evidenzia i cambiamenti che impongono ai vendor dell’IT un cambiamento sostanziale nel loro approccio all’Enterprise Computing:
"Perpetual vs. subscription licensing. Many current operating plans and sales organizations at the largest technology companies are built on the perpetual license model, where a customer pays one large sum up front and the vendor immediately recognizes nearly 100% of that payment as revenue. This perpetual license gives customers the “privilege” of paying an annual maintenance fee regardless of whether or not they take advantage of future upgrades. With subscription licensing, however, revenue is recognized over the life of the contract, making this an extremely difficult economic and organizational shift for an existing vendor.
Product cycle and software development methodology. For packaged software, new features are delivered (in the best case) twice a year. Often these feature releases are never deployed due to the complexity of field upgrades, resulting in users working with software that is years old. With SaaS, development is near continuous, allowing for rapid feature innovation and instant deployment of new features to all users.
Ease of adoption and trial-use. In the pre-SaaS, on-premise world, software purchases were made through a central CIO organization, which was equipped to deploy infrastructure and then test, certify and validate every new application. This highly concerted—not to mention, costly—effort required salespeople and systems engineers to run pilots, alphas and internal rollouts. The process would often take months, and by the time the software was ready to be deployed, there was no clear indication as to whether the product was really useful to the company.However, with the advent of cloud and SaaS, the end user/department can easily try new software without an on-premise install, often at no cost. Developers and startups have found a replicable, reliable way to circumvent the iron grip of the industry’s major players and innovate, rather than iterate, on solutions to complex business problems. It’s a meritocracy of applications, where the best wins.
Inside sales leverage. With easy adoption and trial-use, a typical SaaS customer will have used a product and know its capability. This makes selling an upgrade or enterprise-wide deployment much easier and more economical.Because of SaaS, the inside sales function is growing at 15 times the pace of direct sales. For existing companies that have large direct sales groups, moving to an inside sale model requires a complete re-tooling of the sales organization. This is a difficult transition and provides an opportunity for new companies to prevail.
Customer relationships. Customer lock-in has long been the hallmark of incumbent companies. Selling on-premise software directly to the CIO resulted in a tight relationship between the CIO buyer and the incumbent vendor. No matter how slow the rollout or buggy the end result, the fact that any new product had a receptive, locked-in customer, made it incredibly difficult for a new company to wedge its way in. But with departmentalization, individual operational units have more autonomy to purchase technology. This gives the newcomer a real opportunity to establish relationships that the incumbent may not have. In fact, several large, incumbent companies are now making an effort to get to know the departmental buyer and get ahead of this trend. The cloud and SaaS are stripping the complexity of IT to the point where any given operational department now has the confidence to purchase the tools they need directly from the vendor, circumventing a large part of the traditional IT procurement process. Moreover, the new buyers are not encumbered by risk-averse, IT decision-makers who operate under the belief that nobody gets fired for buying IBM.”