There has been a lot written about the “Consumerisation of IT/Software” and IMHO much of it makes for a pretty dry read. Hence it was with a smile on my face I came across this little summary as part of a detailed paper by the folks at Bessemer Venture Partners on the Top 10 Laws of Cloud Computing and SaaS.

“The gig is up. Pandora’s box is open. Your customers all now know that software doesn’t have to suck anymore. They use rich internet applications including Facebook and Skype to communicate with their friends; they use LinkedIn to manage their business networks, Google or Wikipedia/Wikia to find accurate online content, Yelp to find restaurants, and Travelocity to book flights. Your potential customers are now looking for similar “cheap and cheerful” products in a violent revolt against the years of oppression by the likes of SAP and Oracle.”

and

“The best possible way to land a large enterprise customer is to call up the CIO and say ‘we’re excited by how much you like our product and were surprised to note that we now have several hundred users of our product within your corporation. We wondered if you were interested in rolling these into an enterprise license with the administrative dashboard, integration to your other systems, coordinated billing and provisioning?’ ”

With my "Microsoft hat on” I really liked  the “violent revolt against the years of oppression by the likes of SAP and Oracle” bit … but I also know that Microsoft has its own guilty past when it comes to delivering software.

Understanding of the impact of the Consumerisation of Software leads to law 5 from Bessemer:

“Build Employee Software. Employees are now powerful customers, not just their managers! We are witnessing the “Consumerization of Software” so focus on ease of use”

For me this is an incredibly important Law, independent of whether you are developing for the Cloud or taking a SaaS approach. I believe that:

  • ISVs (or more generically product authors) who ignore this law have a finite number of years left in the industry
  • Programmers who ignore this law and continue to write UX which could just have easily been written in Visual Basic 3.0 have a finite number of years left in the industry

As it happens, my colleague Dave lead a session with some of our ISVs end of last month on this very topic. The slides which were there to spark the debate are shown below:

Related Links