Over the weekend, Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie wrote a blog post on TechCrunch called "The Changing Of The Enterprise Guard." It is a must-read for anyone in our industry, and it gets me excited that I'm part of this hot space even though my 17-year career is in "boring ole' enterprise IT."
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Levie opens with what we all know, that now workers are circumventing archaic enterprise software by bringing in new unsanctioned services into their organizations, tablets were launched, and CIOs became comfortable with the cloud. He points out that just a few years ago, the incumbent enterprise vendors played the game of "You can't trust the cloud," and now we see them all scramble to bolt "cloud" onto whatever they offer. (Crazy how many times this has played out in history!)
But the main thrust of Levie's article is that "enterprise" is finally a major opportunity for startup companies—something that's been missing in the past.
Looking ahead five years, Levie writes, "we're realizing that the scale of disruption is far greater and deeper than we originally imagined. The advantages and opportunities we saw in 2007 were just vibrations on the surface of much more violent tectonic shifts. We’re about to witness a decade-long changing of the guard, and nearly $1 trillion dollars of enterprise value is up for grabs."
Levie continues to make the point that the traditional software vendors just aren't prepared for this. "Only five years ago, a CIO could deploy software from Microsoft and not wince about integration concerns, but today that’s far from the case. In speaking with hundreds of CIOs, they all share a common concern: Legacy vendors won’t move fast enough to support these new platforms at the rate they’re being adopted by employees."
"In the previous predominant IT architecture (client-server)... mixing and matching independent solutions was wildly impractical if not impossible. ... The consequence of this aggregation was that startups had little chance to compete for customer wallet share.
But today and over the next few years, "Thanks to the emergence of an all-new IT architecture and the rise of the cloud stack, once-loyal customers are ditching slow-moving incumbents for a new guard of enterprise vendors. Meanwhile, customers that were never served by the old guard are getting access to best-in-class technology for the first time. We’re just at the beginning of this shift, but it will be one of the most profound and disruptive turnovers in the history of technology."
The comments posted to his article (including one from Ed Iacobucci) are more supportive of the traditional vendors, pointing out that they can build (Office 365) or buy (Citrix/Podio, Microsoft/Yammer, Oracle/Eloqua, Cisco/Meraki, etc.)
What do you think? I just can't express how excited I am to be part of this space. I love that my job is cool and that I don't have cover photo chatting apps to be part of the "startup" culture out here in San Francisco.