Software Pulse

Business Strategy for Software Executives

April 16 , 2007

Richard A. Moran

Elephants in the Boardroom

The challenges which exist between the CEO and the Board can be easily seen - and overcome - if you know what to watch for.

By Richard A. Moran, Venrock Associates

An elephant almost always joins the festivities when the CEO and the Board gather.  This is not an elephant that stomps around and trumpets trouble.  It’s a pachyderm who is very subtle but big enough to complicate the dynamics in the relationship between a CEO and the Board of Directors.

The “elephants” are the big issues that can put a divide between the CEO and the Board if they are not resolved. They are often so big that everyone sees them, but no one wants to address them.  But sometimes they can be so large that no one even sees them.

The tricky relationship between management and the Board is fueled by business issues, style, decision making power, and all the stakeholders involved. The rigors of corporate governance compound the dynamic with committee charters, proper policies and procedures, independent directors and plenty of counsel. Compliance cloned the elephant in the room into a herd.  

By recognizing the common challenges in management-Board relations,  companies can follow three basic principles to overcome most of them and greatly improve the productivity of the relationship.


Are You Attending Software 2007?
Your Customers, Competitors and Partners Will Be...

Executives from hundreds of software and services companies will be strategizing, learning and networking at one of the most influential software industry conferences of the year: Software 2007. Here is just the top of the list of companies who will have executives in attendance:

    Aberdeen Group
    Agile Software
    AMR Research
    Click here for the complete list of Software 2007 attendee companies.

If you've been waiting to register, don't wait any longer! The special rate of $1,595 for 4 company executives expires THIS WEEK. Be there on May 8 and 9 in Santa Clara, Calif. and take part in this industry-wide conference. Register now!

Lou Dobbs is Right - and Wrong

David Scott LewisThe question over whether offshoring is good for America is the wrong question, according to David Scott Lewis of Startech Global. The reality is that shareholder value drives American companies to do what is best for the bottom line – and in many cases, that does mean offshoring jobs. Read David’s analysis of the latest offshoring debates in this week’s post to his Blog, Letter from China.

Between a Rock and Capital Spending

The latest capital spending reports do not bode well for software growth this year – or in the future, according to Erik Keller of Wapiti LLC. Read why Erik thinks the latest software trends combined with a weak macroeconomic outlook spell trouble for traditional software vendors in this week’s post to his Blog, The Software Critic.

Publish Your Perspective!

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

New Podcast: Transforming Business Processes’s M.R. Rangaswami and Cognizant senior VP, Malcolm Frank, discuss how a strategic outsourcing relationship can enable clients to transform their business processes. Click here to listen and gain insight about the latest best practices.

How to Foster Innovation

Few technology companies are as savvy about innovation as Intuit. Read this interview with CEO Bill Campbell and learn how he has managed innovation for his company and others in this article from The McKinsey Quarterly.

News Update: Rising Stars

Up-and-coming software companies make the news; plus, the first IPO filing of the year, a new foe for Microsoft and a new buy for Read these stories and more software news of the week in the latest Software News Summary.

How to Punish Corporate Fraud?

Former CA CEO Sanjay Kumar agreed to pay $800 million in restitution for his fraud conviction and prosecutors may be pursuing charges against the former CEO, Charles Wang. Are these cases the right answer to corporate fraud?
Take our Pulse Poll >>

Last week, readers gave their opinions as to what should be done about the H-1B visa program.
Give us your opinion and see the results >>

More at

Forrester's Latest Take on SOA.
Read the most important enterprise software industry news of the week >>

CoMeT Solutions receives $2 million.
Monitor the latest software venture capital deals >>

Technorati buys Personal Bee.
Size up last week's software M&A deals >>

JAJAH names Trevor Healy as CEO.
See who's made it to the top in our list of recent software executive appointments.

Send us your feedback on this newsletter and the site.

Parting Thought

“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their jobs done.”
–Peter Drucker  

Courtesy of Malcolm Kusher, The Kushner Group