I found this post on new enterprise versus old enterprise software sales interesting: http://brandonb.cc/is-your-b2b-startup-new-enterprise-or-old-enterprise
The basic gist is that the traditional top-down enterprise software sales model (“old enterprise”) – characterized by executive-level contacts and long sales-cycle – is being joined by a new model that starts from the bottom and goes up (“new enterprise”). The author goes on to describe some patterns he’s observed, concluding that it’s really driven by the customer.
I don’t have fully fleshed thoughts on this, but a few things spring to mind:
- As SaaS becomes more prevalent, more types of software will be available in the “New Enterprise” model.
- Siloed data continues to be a problem – this is really only fixed by a top-down approach. It can be alleviated, however, by more open software. Different topic, but I expect “openness of data” to be a corporate requirement in the future (i.e., don’t buy software that tries to lock up our data).
- The most successful companies will be those that can master both, using a bottom-up approach to support an eventual top-down sale. Winning products need to work (and be compelling) on their own, and support the complexity that a full-enterprise sale requires. Right now, most companies seem to be good at one or the other.