Software Pulse

Business Strategy for Software Executives

May 22 , 2006

Brian Sommer

5 Paths to Software Growth

Industry growth will depend on replacing the narcissistic philosophies of software product development with an approach that incorporates the world outside of finance and IT.

By Brian Sommer, TechVentive

Thereís uneasiness in the software industry today, especially in the application software space. Lots of people are working on application software today. Open source, offshore developers, SOA and middleware are being used to re-invent old applications but the results will doubtlessly be very similar to todayís offerings. And, this is creating the uneasiness.

The problem is that software developers are wearing blinders. Their inability to look beyond the historical realm and functionality of enterprise software is leading them to develop the same kind of solution year after year, decade after decade.

For software companies to be seen again as leaders of innovation, they need to advance beyond the limited vision the blinders have left them. They need to rethink who they build applications for and how they can expand the universe of value-creating opportunities for every potential user. And, this means that the industry must say goodbye to its narcissistic tendencies and follow new product paths to growth.


SAP Receptive to Acquisition ñ by Google?!

SAPís annual SAPPHIRE user conference sparked lots of news, including an interview with Hasso Plattner in which the companyís supervisory board chief says that SAP is open to acquisition by one of three US companies; plus Infor-SSA tried to upstage SAPPHIRE, lots of earnings released with mixed results, and a customer research firm released a ranking of CRM vendors (sorry Sugar!) Read these stories and more news of the week in the weekly news summary.

Visit every Friday when editors deliver this capsule of the most important software news ñ or better yet, sign up for the News Summary RSS feed and donít miss an issue!

Partying Like It Was 1999

Erik KellerThe Software Critic, Erik Keller, reports from SAPís SAPPHIRE event ñ and boy, what an event it was. The applications giant threw a fantastic party yet managed to stay ìon messageî ñ an case study of best practices for any software vendor aiming to get its moneyís worth from a user conference. Read Erikís tips for success in this weekís post to his Blog.

SAP: We Will Neuter You

At SAPPHIRE ’06, staying on message meant convincing SAP users that IT complexity is bad, integrated suites are good, and upgrading to SAP was the answer. In light of the conference, The Software Critic assesses the power and potential of SAP’s strategy.

And finally, Erik applauds SAP for bringing together the blogging community at SAPPHIRE and wonders what the results will be.

The New World of Enterprise Sales 2.0

Software buying hasn’t just changed, it has undergone a 180-degree shift. Antony Awaida of StartLeap examines the new way companies buy software and why it spells opportunity for todays software startups. Read his perspective in this week’s post to the Blog on Sales & Marketing Best Practices.

Publish Your Perspective!

The Blog wants your opinions. Send your thoughts on the enterprise software industry to and weíll publish them in our blog.

Get Ray Lane on Your iPod

Podcasts from popular Software 2006 speakers are now available. This week, addresses from Ray Lane of Kleiner Perkins and Vanessa Colella of McKinsey & Co. are live at

Every week, new content from the conference appears online at, including video of key speakers, slides from popular presenters and the Software 2006 Industry report from McKinsey & Co. and Sand Hill Group.

Don’t Miss McKinsey on Improving the Efficiency of Finance

It’s difficult to imagine but the finance department may be one of the most inefficient departments in the company.  The McKinsey Quarterly takes a look at how to run a leaner finance department and the impact such a move can have on company performance in this week’s article from the journal.

Poll: Who Will Buy SAP?

Hasso Plattner says SAP would be open to acquisition by a select group of companies. Who do you think will buy the applications giant?
Take our Pulse Poll >>

Last week, readers gave their opinions on whether consolidation is hurting the future of the ecosystem by prematurely eliminating small, best-of-breed vendors.
Share your opinion and see the results >>

Join the NetSquared Conference - May 30-31, 2006

CompuMentor's TechSoup program has spent the last 18 years helping nonprofits overcome the greatest barrier to solid, stable technology: price and knowledge.

Their NetSquared Conference, on May 30-31, 2006 at Cisco Systems’ Vineyard Conference Center in San Jose, will further discuss how to help the 10 million nonprofits that exist world-wide to understand and use the emerging tools that allow people to connect to issues and to one another. To find out more about attendance or sponsorship, visit

More at

VC Tom Perkins resigns from HPís board.
Read the most important enterprise software industry news of the week >>

Metatomix receives $11.3 million.
Monitor the latest software venture capital deals >>

Microsoft buys Whale Communications.
Size up last week's software M&A deals >>

Cognos names Les Rechan as COO.
See who's made it to the top in our list of recent software executive appointments >>

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Parting Thought

“People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after."
– Oliver Goldsmith 

Courtesy of Malcolm Kusher, The Kushner Group