There’s a conference happening here in Boston this week, called E2, about “driving innovation with enterprise applications.” I wasn’t able to attend, but I think that’s an awesome title for a conversation. So I thought I’d share a few related ideas, based on what we see at Vsnap in our interactions with large enterprise customers.
The enterprise is encountering the same fragmentation of devices and applications that we see in consumer society. Vendor companies that solve some problem for the enterprise client now have to solve that problem across a range of employee and customer devices, operating systems, screen sizes, etc. That’s really table stakes at this point. It’s not enough to build a better mousetrap. It needs to be a better mousetrap that works effectively on a majority of commonly used devices. The imperative for vendors is to give the enterprise end user an “it just works” experience by removing as much technical complexity as possible.
The enterprise sometimes gets stereotyped as a place where middle managers hold sway, squashing new ideas and running from risk. But I think today’s hyper-competitive business environment is pushing enterprise decision-makers to change that ethos. Strong leaders at large companies generally know their business very, very well. And they see the ways that technology can really help them differentiate. At the same time, today’s vendor product offerings, even those from very young companies like Vsnap, do a very good job of mitigating risk by offering free trials that don’t require new hardware and other capital-intensive components. The result is that today’s enterprise is probably trying more new tools than ever before.
There’s a shift in leadership styles that has happened in the last ten to fifteen years as we’ve seen example after example of the incredible power of networks. In today’s network-aware environment, there are fewer command-and-control type leaders. Fewer organizations that are purely top-down in terms of their strategies. There’s a growing number of organizations that are looking for tools to empower employees, and that are working through the policies and protocols of doing that.
Just as leaders have recognized that they can no longer think of big, monolithic audiences that can be engaged via blunt, broadcast media, they are also letting go of the notion that their own corporate entities are monolithic. Unlocking the voices, the motivations and the networks of individual employees is a path to doing more with less. Walking that path means committing to creating and nurturing a strong corporate culture, which then serves to guide employee behavior. As Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
We see all of these ideas at work in our conversations with enterprise folks using Vsnap. They are sophisticated, risk-tolerant, and culture-focused. They have technology challenges that derive from fragmentation, but they are turning those challenges into the opportunity, using a focus on authentic engagement to create and cultivate strong cultures that seek out differentiating tools as a way to drive growth. It’s an exciting time!