Computers are now commoditized items. Just like phones and soon smartphones, or they already are. Microsoft are now getting more and more into making consumer items, while others like IBM, Dell, and HP have embraced enterprise market, leaving much of the consumer market to Apple.
It’s funny when people suggest that Microsoft should have gone enterprise-only when clearly the trend is going toward BYOD (bring your own device). Maybe people are forgetting something vital here. Those who choose BYOD, will ask their IT dept. to support the products they bring. Well, the products they bring are mostly consumer-oriented ones. What happen if they keep asking the IT dept. to support them? Sooner or later, those enterprise products makers will have to support consumer products.
See, the main problem is, most of the time, enterprise solution is clunky, slow, ugly, not user-friendly, and very expensive. When people ask IT dept. to customize everything to their likings, people want their solutions to look like say Apple software or product. They want them to intuitive, easy to use and colorful.
The issue does not stop there. Once there are demands for such enterprise products, those old dogs won’t be able to give their customers with the suitable solutions. Why? The reason why they got out of consumer market was because they couldn’t compete, for various causes and reasons. One of them is they couldn’t make a decent software for consumer. Who’s gonna provide the suitable solutions? Newer players, like SalesForce. They could easily come up with their own ERP as what they already have, their CRM. But SalesForce is still too expensive for small to medium businesses.
Saas from SAP and the likes are most of time priced over the top. Soon, they won’t be able to charge that much. The upgrade price is thru the roof as well. Don’t even mention the option to switch. They don’t exist. Even if they do, you will likely face a severe headache. So there are:
- the software price
- the implementation price
- the upgrade price
- the need to assemble a competent IT team
- the need to maintain your servers (if there is any)
- the need to pay AWS type of services
- the need to pay for dedicated internet line, and so on.
The list can go on to virtually limitless. I’m not kidding. Now, imagine from the list above, how much will you end up paying? Even if you are running a big corporation, it’s still a major purchase and a pain in the butt to implement.
There are various ERP out there, but there are very few that looks easy to use or even intuitive. New software companies should have no problem producing one that is easy to use, intuitive, beautiful, and customized to various industries. They should also have no problem offering much more reasonable pricing structures. The old dogs, they won’t be able to do all that because all that will directly affect their business model and their bottom line.
I think the time will come and the idea of why Microsoft should embraced enterprise-only market is flawed. IMHO, the key is to go somewhere in between and make a killing there. But for those Saas makers, they are in deep trouble. In time, their offerings will be commoditized, just like what has been happening with Office suite.