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Enterprise software / 37Signals

In the face of the new year, here’s a single 37signals’ prediction for 2006: Enterprise will follow legacy to become a common insult among software creators and users. Enterprise software vendors’ costs will continue to rise while the quality of their software continues to drop. There will be a revolt by the people who use the software (they want simple, slim, easy to use tools) against the people who buy the software (they want a fat feature list that’s dressed to impress). This will cause enterprise vendors to begin hemorrhaging customers to simpler, lower cost solutions that do 80% of what their customers really need (the remaining 20% won’t justify the 10x-100x cost of the higher priced enterprise software “solutions”). By the end of 2006, it will be written that enterprise means bulky, expensive, dated, and golf.

Quoted from: Predicting ‘06: Enterprise is the new legacy

I have a lot of respect for 37Signals and the work they have done. But this statement is a joke. Sure “enterprise” software is expensive, bulky and dated and there is a lot of room for improvement in that segment. But why do you guys attack enterprise software? You guys are in the other end of the market. Enterprise software is about scale and about handling every business need that a large corporation has. I work in a company who develop business software for small and medium sized businesses and even here we see in some cases extensive feature lists. Enterprise software is not about having one feature that does one thing. It is about the ‘what if’s of that feature. Also enterprise software is for users who do not talk together. The information must flow to the right decision maker. A nice wiki with tagging capabilities is not going to do that.

37Signals’ CRM & Project management solutions will work fantastic for small teams and others with little need of specific features. If the main thing is to collaborate, work anywhere without the hassle of installing software and paying hefty license fees then 37Signals products are great. This is a big market. Most companies have the need for more functionality. It is a matter of choice between features, bulky and expensive and cheap, easy and featureless. You guys are just taking on another market. If you do not understand that you will fail. Your target market does not care, need or have the money for enterprise software.

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Written on 28 December 2005.
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