Always On Network has an interview with JotSpot CEO, Joe Kraus. Kraus is a serial entrepreneur, having been part of the Stanford alumni contigent behind Excite, Inc. Here are a few pearls of wisdom to consider from the Krause man.
I really believe that the world of business software—let’s call it enterprise software—is moving toward a model that I’ll call the consumer enterprise. This is in many ways, I think, the Microsoft secret: Microsoft delights end-users and appeases IT; it sells from the bottom and empowers. I hate the word empower—hate it, hate it, hate it—but I don’t know what other word to use: Microsoft gives end-users the feeling or belief that they can do things they couldn’t do before. They addict consumers—and that addiction then sells the enterprise.
I think what’s depressing the enterprise software category in general is that when the internet came along, it changed what people did at work. It blended their work behavior with their personal behavior: Suddenly, you could go onto Google Maps and map where you were going to dinner, or to Amazon to buy a book you’d been thinking about—and then switch back again to whatever you were doing at work. So you’re exposed to all of these consumer services during the workday. And while you’re sitting there using Google Maps for free, a software salesman rolls up and says you should pay a million dollars for what is in essence a glorified database app. Your answer? ‘Come on. You can’t really expect me to do that.’
I think for a big chunk of software, the internet is totally blurring the line between consumer and business applications. This is an important trend to recognize—and why I think of Google as a threat. Even though our first application is more business oriented, our goal is to make the end-user, not the IT person, our customer. We’re sold to end-users, and those are the people we need to addict.
Microsoft fails to delight this end-user, but other than that, Kraus’s points are well taken.