Just imagine if someone approached you with a ‘brand new idea’ for CRM software. It would cost millions-of-dollars, install in 3-6 months and takes a team of consultants to do most of the work. Of course you would laugh and rightly so after all it’s such a 2001 idea… How times change.
The idea sounds preposterous now because our expectations have changed. I can get SalesForce.com up and running and the only real skill I need is to know how to enter a credit card number. Everyone is talking about the cloud and trying to cram the word “cloud” into their new company names as we all did with “.com” back in the heady days of 1998 when the dot com typhoon first hit us. I think it’s very easy to get carried away, just as we did at the millennium, and throw rational business thinking out of the window. Back then we forgot that you still actually needed to sell and fulfill orders just like any other business – that doesn’t change. What does change is the relationship the consumer has with the retailer. I can’t remember the last time that I purchased an airline ticket inside a travel agent’s office for example.
Let’s look at the reasons why enterprises are moving some software to the cloud. A recent IDC study found the top reason was easy-fast deployment. The other reasons (see picture below) are associated with cost (less in house IT, pay for use, low monthly subscription) or getting latest functionality. The converse of this is that traditional enterprise software is difficult and slow to deploy, expensive and complex to update.
I really don’t believe that cloud computing is as revolutionary as the industry would have us believe but what it is doing is changing our expectations in the way in which we consume applications. Applications do not necessarily need to be in the cloud but they must:
- Be easy to Install (in less than 15 minutes)
- Have no special skills to get up and running
- Be cost effective
- Just work every time
When we designed uberSVN, we did so with these principles in mind. That’s why we got tens-of-thousands of successful installs of the product in the first couple of months. So what’s next for uberSVN? Well we believe that enterprise will take a leaf out of the consumer book. Almost 3 years ago today Apple updated iTunes and in that update was an app store. That changed the mobile device into a platform where, with just 1 click you can deploy sophisticated applications for just about everything you need and some things you probably don’t. Again it’s successful because it’s incredibly easy, fast and cost effective.
Just imagine enterprise IT departments could do this with enterprise applications… enter uberApps.
uberSVN was launched in response to demand from enterprises to be empowered to choose ALM tools to meet their business goals be it price or functionality, open source or closed source.
The concept of an app store means that not only can users get incredibly easy automatic updates and simple (single click) installation but also incredibly fast and efficient discovery of applications. In a software tools context imagine if you wanted a build engine, a wiki and defect tracker. There is a plethora of open source, closed source, expensive and free products out there to go and research. Who even knows if they are all going to work together?
uberApps solves that problem. The applications are certified to work with the uberSVN platform – that means complete integration and testing by our QA team. How do you know if it’s any good? First off you can read reviews from other users and then you can try it out. Installation is only a mouse click away and if you don’t like it or don’t need it then you can simply uninstall just like you do on an iPhone.
There is one critical difference with iPhone apps though. There is clearly a balance between fast discovery of applications by users and empowerment to deploy them. uberApps models the process that enterprises use today where departments can request products from IT and then go through a standard approval process. It’s pretty cool because it means that this is centralized rather than having to get a separate arrangement with dozens of different vendors.
uberApps may be groundbreaking but it’s simply modeling the new way that enterprises expect to consume software today. Which one would you choose – An app store or a stereotypical software sales guy with his Porsche, golf clubs and Armani suit (all of which you’re eventually going to pay for)?