Ryan Holmes in Fortune – 5 Trends Transforming Enterprise Software

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A column by HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes was featured on the Fortune Magazine website yesterday. Holmes weighs in on the dramatic changes defining a new generation of social-savvy, cloud-based, user-friendly enterprise software.  You can check out the story here.

Microsoft’s $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer – a.k.a Facebook for the workplace – earlier this month hints at a major shift in what enterprises expect from their software.  The hard-to-use, feature-heavy suites once churned out by the likes of Oracle and SAP are quietly taking a backseat to intuitive, cloud-based solutions including apps like Box, Evernote, Yammer and HootSuite.

Five Trends

Over the last month, tech’s biggest players have embarked on a $2.25-billion spending spree on these next-generation enterprise apps.  Significant changes are on the horizon.  Here are five trends Holmes points out:

  • Consumerization of enterprise software: Call it the Facebook principle.  Today’s young professionals expect software to have intuitive, sexy and easy-to-use interfaces.  Enterprise offerings are increasingly mirroring the user-friendliness of consumer apps.
  • To the cloud!: Traditionally, companies have shelled out big bucks to license enterprise software, which they have to host on their own servers and upgrade regularly.  The new software-as-a-service (SaaS) model shifts both hardware and software responsibilities to cloud-based providers.  These “pay-as-you-go” offerings (think Salesforce, Hubspot and, of course, HootSuite) translate into lower costs and fewer headaches.
  • Crowdsourcing the CIO: In the old days, CIOs dictated software choices, while  employees had little say about which programs ended up on their computers.  That model has been turned on its head.  These days, employees introduce free, cloud-based solutions like Box or HootSuite into the workplace all the time.  Apps that fill a niche often go company-wide, with CIOs ultimately paying into premium versions.
  • Socialization of enterprise software:  Social networking has transformed our personal lives; its impact in the workplace promises to be just as profound.  Yammer-like networks are enabling companies to share ideas behind the firewall and coalesce into agile working groups.  Meanwhile, collaboration and social sharing features are now a part of everything from task management software to office suites.
  • Business goes mobile:  Armed with smartphones and iPads, today’s BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) employees are the advance guard of a mobile business revolution.  Expect employers to officially embrace mobile in the months and years ahead, as enterprise apps for tablets and phones become more robust.

Major changes are rocking the $280-billion enterprise software market.  The days of licensed, desktop-bound software suites filled with confusing features and ugly interfaces are numbered.  And not a moment too soon.

For the full story, check out Holmes’ article on the Fortune website.