The notion of enterprise customers as large monolithic technology purchasing entities is on a decline. This perhaps was first visible in sales people popping out their credit cards to buy subscription to salesforce.com. However, the trend is expanding with more and more of social web principles being applied to enterprise software. For some time now, Spiceworks has been making inroads – this is is a free ad-supported IT management tools, and has over 700,000 IT professionals and system administrators – who as we know control large purchasing dollars in enterprise customers.
Such behavior has perhaps existing for far longer in SMB/SOHO segments, especially owner driven organizations. In my view, this represents a significant shift in how enterprise software will get developed, distributed and monetized. The most popular web applications like email, chat, news etc are already seeing the personal-professional divide blurring – not to talk to blackberry which blurs the time divide between personal and professional lives, and iPhone logically extends the notion on a feature set basis (is it a consumer phone or a business phone?) Future software will be designed around people, encompassing their personal and professional lives – personalization to the core.
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