Selling Software To Enterprises


barcamp5logoFinally I’ve managed to find the time to put up my presentation from Barcamp London last month in the EBay offices in Richmond. It was a fantastic day, and I’m fortunate that my good friend Josh Lui from Minutebox was there to let me know it was happening last minute and get me on the list to turn up!

For those of you who don’t know Barcamp (and while I’d heard my Thai developers mentioning the one in Bangkok, I too was also unfamiliar until recently), its basically a geek meetup where lots of developers get together and do presentations to each other on anything they want to talk about. Usually this is about some web development technology, but there are no rules to what you can talk about, just as long as you don’t use Barcamp to promote your own business and products. One woman spoke about how to disguise your online identity so you could blog anonymously online. This included fake postal addresses, temporary phone numbers and other counter-measures. Sounded like she was living the life of Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory!

Well being a technology geek, but also a business geek, I decided to talk about my favourite subject, which I feel qualified to talk about after working for Accenture doing exactly that, how to sell software to enterprises. I entitled it “Getting my really really cool software into enterprises”. Now I know in many of the start-up events I go to, this would usually get a lot of interest, but to a bunch of tech. geeks, who were more interested in the latest development technologies, I only managed to scrape together a small handful of people to my presentation :p

Anyway, the slides are on Scribd below, I removed the Gartner stuff for copyright reasons, but hopefully some of you will find it interesting. The key messages to take away are:

  • Enterprises don’t just look for “cool” technology and software,  which is why IBM has been around for years and will continue to be one of the biggest enterprise software companies out there for the foreseeable future. Their software looks crap (a cheap UI designer would really help them improve I think!), definitely isn’t as “cool” as many of the things we use on the net, but because they are stable, reliable and can execute on big projects for big enterprises, they will always beat the small start-up with the sexy new piece of software that may even be 10 times better or cheaper! Enterprise buyers are pragmatic, and they want to know if they’re going to spend all that money buying your software, you’re going to be around in 5 years time!
  • The best book I’ve read on this subject is “Crossing The Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore. If you are interested in getting your new software or technology into enterprises read this! This was the book Documentum (a leading content management system for enterprises who’s founder John Newton since went on to found Alfresco) used to help plan their strategy. They targeted a niche (legal departments) with a problem they could solve, dominated it, and then used it as a reference for expanding into other niches and more pragmatic buyers. You should think about how to do this too.
  • Of course, being a founder of a SaaS business (SambaStream) I had to mention my reasons why SaaS was coming of age and why it may be able to lower the barrier for smaller new start-ups to enter the enterprise market.

Anyway, please download the presentation attached below and post any questions on this blog preferably, so I can share the answers with everyone!

Barcamp Presentation Getting My Really Really Cool Software Into Enterprises