Peering into the Future

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Last week, I had the good fortune to hear Geoffrey Moore (famed author of Crossing the ChasmThe Gorilla Game, Inside the Tornado, Living on the Faultline and Dealing with Darwin) speak about the future of enterprise IT.

Moore has always had a special place in the collective consciousness of our company. Ours is a disruptive business model that has succeeded in bringing cutting-edge products to mainstream customers, a topic that is central to Crossing The Chasm. So the opportunity to hear him in person in an intimate environment was a real treat, and well worth the day trip to Seattle.

His talk, entitled Peering into the Future,  was filled with keen insights, and had the audience of high-powered investors and startup CEOs totally enthralled.

I was especially gratified to see that our approach at Act-On Software fits very well into his view of the future of enterprise software systems. Without attempting to do justice to his entire thesis, I am taking the liberty to list a few of his observations that are especially relevant for us:

  • Enterprise software systems have become consumerized.
    Translation: People expect their enterprise software systems to be as approachable as, and to use familiar paradigms derived from, consumer applications like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and so on.
    This mirrors our approach. We focus a lot on the user experience, trying to keep things intuitively simple and understandable without sacrificing power and functionality.
  • Enterprise software systems have shifted from being systems of record (efficiency) to systems of engagement (engagement).
    Translation: Stop thinking about the database, that is so last decade. Instead, focus on systems that let you collaborate with peers and engage with prospects and customers across corporate boundaries.
    Our user experience de-emphasizes the database, even though there is a very sophisticated one behind the scenes. And we have made engagement channels like e-mail, social media, webinars and telephony central to the user experience we offer.
  • Systems of engagement must meet four key design goals:
    Mobile to be in the moment
    Social to share facts and insights with others
    Ad Hoc because that’s how issues emerge
    Real Time because that’s when issues get resolved
    This rings so true for us! Ideas like “immediacy”, “real-time”, “always on”, “rapid response”, and so on are design imperatives at Act-On Software
  • All systems of engagement are a Darwinian response to the future of work.
    What a cool statement! For us, rapid evolution is part of the company DNA. Our two-week release / upgrade cycle was designed from the outset to allow us to keep up with the dizzying pace of evolution in marketing. Any vendor that does not evolve is headed for extinction.

There is no way to do a blog post that does justice to Geoffrey Moore. I urge you to check out his website.