What is the most destructive force in the world of technology, which has almost eliminated BlackBerry, led Dell to close its capital and caused chaos in Microsoft?
In Silicon Valley, most would point to one of these technologies: smart phones, social networks, “the cloud” application platforms or other term inscrutable. However, the most destructive force, unpredictable and volatile in the technology industry is closer than you think: are you and me and everyone we know.
Until recently, most of us had no say in the technologies that we used every day. The units were delivered to one from afar, chosen by anonymous offices criteria you do not understand. If one was to buy a cell phone, we had a selection of devices that were approved by your mobile operator, and these came locked so that the user not download applications that conflict with the operator’s business plans. In your room, you had a decoder supplied by the cable provider, and if the video system “a la carte” This is not in your favorite program, you had to find a new favorite.
At the summit of the food chain was your boss, or more specifically, the director of computing of your business. Most of the world’s technological devices were purchased for corporate use, and computer employees made decisions based on safety and price rather ease of use. Technology companies that satisfied the preferences of CIOs tended to thrive. That is why you like or not, the computer in your office was manufactured by Dell, operated Windows and Office, and the phone that your company offered was a BlackBerry.
Then, almost overnight the a series of technological breakthroughs and marketing-like broadband Internet everywhere and appeal of consumer devices like the iPhone, completely transformed the market for technology. In recent years we, the users, for the first time we have had the ability to choose the technology that we use at home, in our wireless networks, and, crucially, also in the office.
Only a few years ago, executives of BlackBerry promised that their devices would beat their rivals as BlackBerry was far ahead in “sync with CIOs”. But the beleaguered executives had not considered that CIOs could lose their power. As employees began to demand the freedom to use the phones, tablets and applications they have at home, the most advanced corporations found ways to allow entry of a whole new set of technologies to their networks.
Now one can use an iPhone instead of a BlackBerry, an iPad instead of a Dell computer and Google Docs instead of Word. After all, in sync with the CIO did not help one bit to BlackBerry.
The fall of BlackBerry and the predicaments in which Dell and Microsoft have been. They offer a lesson for any firm seeking to enter the market of business technology. It indicates that even if one wants to sell technology CIOs cannot forget the employees, the people who actually use the devices.
“It’s an incredible lesson about what happens when a set of buyers implements a technology to another set of users, without care or sensitivity to what users need to do their job,” said Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, one of most promising young companies in Silicon Valley.
Box sells storage platforms in the cloud to large corporate clients. But unlike old-time business services, Levie says its engineers and product teams not stop thinking about employees who use their products.
Box exemplifies a strategy sometimes called the Facebookización of companies: “We have combined the product design mentality of Google or Facebook with the sales strategy that would in a firm like Salesforce.com and Oracle best parts,” said Levie .
Consider the latest product of the Box, a collaborative application using call BoxNotes documents. When two people are working in different locations in the same document highlights changes BoxNotes each user showing their faces: a trick that proudly recognizes Levie which was inspired by the message system Facebook chat bubbles.
Even in its sales strategy, Box is distance business technology model of the past. “Until recently, we avoided talking to the principal or other computer buyer in a company,” says Levie. Instead, Box approached the head of marketing or sales of a company, and once that people in those departments began using Box, employees ran the voice in every company, eventually forcing the IT department to adopt Box.
Before, the CIO and its team have a reputation always look for ways to tell your employees what they could do. Now, in the most progressive companies, the main work of the department of technology is not to say that now, but to find a way to allow employees to operate safely devices and programs that they like them. The philosophy is this: Employees are more productive when allowed to work with the tools that make them happy.
According to the CB Insights research firm, startups that focused on business services rather than the market for consumers now are receiving renewed interest in Silicon Valley. These companies should bear in mind the lesson of BlackBerry. A firm whose products is mainly used by people without much technical knowledge within an organization, that is, companies that sell software to manage customer relationships, software sales, software analytics-will need to create tools that work in the same way that consumer-grade technology that we provide companies like Apple and Google.
For workers and startups like Box, the new reality is glorious. Congratulations, all receive better technology at work! For business services firms tied to its proximity to CIOs, is the end of the world.