4. The key enabler for tomorrow’s enterprise will be Software, which is already becoming the oxygen of eBusiness. Instead of thinking of software as a monolith system, it will need to become like Lego which can be assembled together to form more complex systems.
- Web Services: the real utility of the Internet is now beginning to dawn. It goes by the moniker of “Web Services”. It is about business applications communicating with each other automatically through the Internet. It is about information sharing across enterprises. The promise: seamless communication across the extended enterprise, reduction in working capital and inventory costs with just-in-time information, and leverage of the legacy software that companies have installed. Is the Web Services revolution for real? (October 29, 2001)
- Enterprise Software: What would happen to the market if the enterprise software suite cost a fraction of the USD 500,000 average that most of the “best-of-breed” enterprise software solutions cost? There are perhaps 25 million companies in the world. Can the market be expanded dramatically if the price were dropped dramatically? Can the software entry point be used to offer additional services to these enterprises, thus dramatically expanding the market? (March 28, 2001)
- Messaging: Email is at the core of what we all do. More than browsing the Internet, we spend time communicating. We are inherently dependent on others to get our work done, so this means that we need to interact with others, we need to communicate. Email is helping us be more productive, communicate with an ever greater number of people and keep an ever increasing number of conversational threads on at any point of time. This modern-day wonder is keeping us more glued to our desks and PCs than any other application. (Feb 12, 2001)
- Email: During the last 5-6 years, email has become a “mission-critical” business tool. Executives spend at least 1-2 hours every day in email. In many ways, email has become the “front-end”, the user interface to the Internet. But email still has certain problems. (June 26, 2001)
- Collaboration: We are all part of groups. We need to work together with other people to accomplish our tasks. These people may be within our company or outside. This “collaborative” facet of work has not changed since time immemorial. What has changed are the tools and technologies we use to collaborate. (July 9, 2001)
- News Refinery: We spend a lot of our time reading everyday – newspapers, magazines, websites. We are in search of news and information. This “information absorption” activity is perhaps the largest consumer of our time after email. It is therefore important to be able to get the news and information without missing anything and from all over, and perhaps faster. (May 21, 2001)
- Gaming: As computing power on the desktop increases and connectivity to the Internet becomes better and faster (through wireless, broadband and devices), Gaming has the potential to be the next killer app. (April 2, 2001)
5. The world does not just consist of the Big Companies. There are millions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the majority of which are in emerging markets like India. The SMEs are the corporate of the world, the bottom of the enterprise pyramid. They use little technology today, but also have suppliers, customers and employees. They also need software.
- Software and SMEs: Computers and the Internet have been the biggest revolutions in the past 20 years. While advances in semiconductors and networking have powered these changes, it is software that has been the invisible factor which has been common to both. Software has become the new physical infrastructure of the information age. (January 29, 2001)
6. Starting with the software needs of SMEs offers a great opportunity to think innovatively and disrupt the Enterprise Software market in the world. The objective needs to be to “delight” SMEs.
- Innovation: What’s common to Napster, Lagaan, Amul’s Rs 20 pizza and Google? (July 31, 2001)
- Disruptive Technologies: Disruptive Technologies bring to market a fundamentally different value proposition than what has been previously available, based on a different set of product/service attributes. This leads to the emergence of new products, the re-definition of an industry’s value network and a shake-up of its competitive structure. (August 20, 2001)
7. The solution lies in thinking of an SME Tech Utility, which makes software like electricity and water, available to all and at a low price-point.
- SME Tech Utility: Create a Technology Utility company, to offer a one-stop solution for SMEs globally covering business and technology needs in four areas: Computing (Management of SMEs local IT infrastructure – the remotely managed desktop), Communications (A Local Server on the SMEs LAN with “intermittent connectivity” to the Internet), Software (An integrated e-business suite of applications covering ERP, CRM and SCM), and Services (Outsourced IT-enabled services from an Indian base in core business areas) – March 1, 2001
- Alt.Software: Software powers business and is at the heart of enterprises more than at any time before. The investments in technology over the past decade have helped managers get better insights into their businesses, and get them faster. The Internet has only helped accelerate this trend. eBusiness, the new mantra, is more about software than anything else. Why then is legal Software so expensive? (October 1, 2001)
- Tech@Enterprise: Creating a Virtuous Cycle: Even as the twin drivers of the Mobile Internet and Web Services promise to create a ubiquitous, utility-like and a much more business-oriented Internet II, the key question that needs to be addressed is: how can the penetration of technology in enterprises in countries like India be increased? (November 12, 2001)