What if everything we’ve been led to believe about enterprise software was a well constructed lie?If you look closely at how the enterprise software market is set up, I think you will see that over the last fifty years, a “syndicate” of the largest software companies in the world; names we all know well, have worked tirelessly to architect a business model where their customers pay them billions of dollars, but receive little in return except frustration and promises. This fabricated reality is so successful that customers of these firms rest easy believing two things to be true; 1. the products and services they receive from these firms are actually helping their businesses; and 2. that because they themselves are large businesses, they have no options but these legacy companies.“The Matrix is the World that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth” – MorpheusIf you’re a large company and you’ve never thought about this before, I understand… that’s what they want.But take a step back and ask yourself a few questions about so called “enterprise” software:Why do legacy “enterprise” solutions cost so much to buy and operate?Why are they so time consuming and costly to implement?Why are they so hard to use?Why does the cost of everything else in technology seem to be coming down, while the cost of these “solutions” continues to rise?Isn’t technology supposed to be getting faster, more powerful, and more useful?I’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news.If you’re a customer of one of these legacy software firms, the answer to these questions is simple;You’re a big company, so you’re led to believe that you need BIG technology.You’re stuck in a well designed, but vicious cycle;You’re a big business, so you set big budgets for “enterprise” technology. You’ve been setting and spending those big budgets with the same companies for decades. Everyone you trust; your advisors, other large companies and the technology firms you rely on, tell you that you need to do things this way…..because your challenges are big. The legacy software companies oblige you and provide cost estimates that are equally big. Because this is the way it has always been, and there don’t seem to be any alternatives, you shell out the money. The cycle is complete. There is only one problem. This cycle is a lie.Let’s go deeper and look at what you really get for all that BIG-ness? This may hurt a little…..First you pay hundreds of thousands or even millions for the license to use the software Then your software vendor introduces you to their consulting partners You pay those consultants to scope the project Then an army of additional consultants starts to re-engineer your business to meet the requirements of your new software Then you pay the consulting firms to “implement” the software you just purchased Then you pay to hundreds of thousands more to integrate your new software with your existing company software infrastructure Then you pay the consultants to test the software to make sure it works Then more consultants make sure everyone gets trained Then finally you get to use your new “solution”, but all you hear are people complaining about how slow, cumbersome, frustrating and demoralizing it is Then you get a invoice from your software vendor to “maintain & support” your new technology And when your business changes or needs to do something new, you have to bring back the same consultants and pay them more money to make the required changes Then, when the software company you just paid a ton of money to makes their software better for you, you have to pay them again to get those “upgrades” And if you don’t pay them for those enhancements your software becomes “un-supported” and you are on your own Sound familiar? You’re not alone. This business model has been in play for decades in enterprise technology, and everyone has become so used to it, we don’t see it as crazy. But it is.The legacy software firms get away with this ruse because five of them represent 93% of the global software market. Better stated, they ARE the global software market, so they’ve been able to dictate how it works.These companies, and their friends the big consulting firms, have convinced everyone that big equals complicated. That in order to satisfy the needs of large companies, large, complex technology is required. Simply put enterprise customers just believe they need “enterprise” solutions to run their businesses, so they don’t really look at alternatives, or spend much time thinking about how drastically technology has transformed over the last few years. Moreover, everyone involved in this syndicate is so dependent on this model continuing, that nobody wants to tell the truth, or see it end.There is one more reason, and you really won’t like this part; whether by conscious choice or blissful ignorance, large companies allow the cycle to continue.You’ve got the money, and are willing to spend it to solve your challenges. Everyone from your board to your executive staff would laugh at the suggestion that you could run a billion dollar business on thousand dollar solutions. It’s safer, easier even, to keep doing what you’ve always done. What’s the saying….”No one ever got fired for buying IBM…”This enterprise charade is so well designed that even after you’ve spent millions of dollars, and countless hours, when everything is outdated and nothing works, instead of stopping the madness, we’ve been conditioned to invest more into “tweaking” what’s already been built.A very interesting phenomenon exists in “enterprise” software. It seems the more money companies spend on these solutions, the more they are willing to tolerate poor performance.“Everything will be fine, we’ll sort it out. Go back to sleep,” they whisper.But here is the good news – it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. You do have choice.
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