Software Pulse

Business Strategy for Software Executives

August 28 , 2006

John Wood

Expanding a Global Organization

Growing internationally takes focus and passion. Software executives can learn much from the launch and meteoric rise of one non-profit.

By John Wood, Room to Read

For software vendors of all types, growth is a constant challenge. Large vendors rapidly acquire smaller and mid-size vendors to achieve scale or enter new markets. Startups race to convert ever-larger clients and forge partnerships with larger vendors.

When I was at Microsoft, the story was the same. As manager of the worldwide launch of Office 95, and later as director of marketing in Asia Pacific, we worked hard to grow our sales and customer base.

In 2000, I left Microsoft to found a non-profit, Room to Read which establishes libraries and schools, and funds education in third-world countries – and growth remains a goal and a challenge.

Room to Read's long-term goal is to help over ten million children achieve the lifelong gift of education by 2020. This year, we’ve expanded onto a new continent, Africa, with our expansion into South Africa, and we plan to continue growing, with both Ethiopia and Zambia slated as our next two countries. We plan to grow from 3,000 libraries (as of August 2006) to at least 10,000, and from 200 schools to over 1,000.

From the very beginning, Room to Read took a global view of our problem – there are 800 million illiterate people in the developing world. How, on a limited capital base, can we reach this many potential “customers”? We can not think small, as there are too many children who need us to think big!

I believe that software firms face the same challenge. As head of a non-profit that has rapidly expanded and achieved impact in an ever-expanding number of countries, software executives may be able to gain some insight from our experience driving global growth.


Webinar: The Path to Profit

The shortest path to new business is to expand business with existing clients. Learn how in a new webinar from Primavera, ìTransforming Projects into Relationshipsî on Tues. Sept. 14 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Join SandHill.comís M.R. Rangaswami and Michael W. McLaughlin, co-author of Guerilla Marketing for Consultants to discuss approaches to managing client relationships for value, growth and profitability. Click here to register now.

The Downside to Empire Building

S. SadagopanAs industry consolidation continues unabated, innovation is stifled – at both large vendors and startups. S. Sadagopan of Satyam argues that the industry must refocus its efforts on adopting and integrating innovative technologies or lose its relevance to service providers. Read Sadagopan’s insight in this week’s post to his Blog, The Deep End.

Ingres Beats Oracle to Linux

As Oracle talked, Ingres worked. Billy Marshall of rPath explains why his company’s partnership, Project Icebreaker, out-innovates the megavendor’s planned partnership with Red Hat and shows off the beauty of software appliances. Read more in the Blog on open source.

BEA + Flashline = SOA Governance

Exactly what do registries and repositories do? BEA’s acquisition of repository provider Flashline causes Tony Baer of onStrategies to analyze the difference and figure out how the buy will play into BEA’s SOA governance plans. Read his point of view in this week’s post to the Blog on SOA.

Publish Your Perspectives!

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

News Update: Building Empires

Megavendors continue to buy or partner for foundation-laying technologies; plus SOA and OSS as building blocks, the latest “hot” software-buying sector, and the fastest-rising “tech titan.”  Read these stories and more software news of the week in the weekly news summary.

Don’t Miss: M&A Best Practices

M&A execs at the most successful U.S. companies understand not only how acquisitions create value but also how to enlist support from the organization. Read more in this article from The McKinsey Quarterly.

Poll: Top Tech Titan in 2011?

Forbes released its list of top tech titans. Who will be atop the list in 2011?
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Parting Thought

“When a man boasts about what he'll do tomorrow we like to find out what he did yesterday.”

Courtesy of Malcolm Kusher, The Kushner Group