By: Kent Erickson>>
Rodrigo Flores posed a Twitter question “If every large company is becoming a software company, but the executive suite doesn’t have background, how do they manage?” Wayne Greene and I chimed in with a few opinions, but I left unsatisfied. It’s great to talk to smart people on Twitter, but really hard to make a coherent point when you’re restricted to short sentences.
Whenever someone asks a question in a headline, you know the answer is “No.” I’m firmly of the opinion that large companies aren’t becoming software companies. Instead they’re focusing on customer value – or they should be! And they’re increasingly building that value on top of third party services.
Our leading customers are changing their definition of IT infrastructure. I spoke with Scott Reece of the University of Maryland at our recent GalaxZ customer conference. Scott defines external services, like Office 360 or Salesforce, as their first choice in IT infrastructure. They’re working to eliminate applications running in their data center, as building on third party services enables them to focus on the needs of the university community instead of on technology choices. You won’t be surprised to know that they’re using Zenoss as a Service.
I’m finding that developers in large companies are primarily writing small bits of code to connect third party services. Large platform application development is outsourced, and as the book, The Software Paradox outlines, those applications are being delivered as services.
I don’t believe that every large company is becoming a software company, any more than I believe that every large company is becoming a power company. For all except specialist service providers, power and software and similar commodities are services you buy and build value around.
Our Peter Lobrutto wrapped up his report on AWS with the phrase “Stephen Elop urged Nokia to take a leap off of their burning platform into the unknown. I would encourage companies with on-premises datacenters to consider the same.” You might want to leap off the large scale software development platform in favor of connected commodity services, too.