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So, we defined the trend in Part 1 -- the power end users have obtained by searching for solutions and researching their options. Then, in Part 2, I set up how this trend is changing the expectations and relationship between vendors and buyers.  All of this leads up to a consideration of how businesses adapt and embrace consumerization...

In my view, it comes down to "All or Nothing" in the operating model.

The thing about a company that embraces the idea of the consumerization of IT – the movement that gives “power to the people” within IT organizations – is that they will look essentially nothing like a “traditional” enterprise software company. If you take all the attributes of that traditional enterprise software company (say 1.0, to borrowed the overused mnemonic device) and stacked them on one side of the whiteboard, then took all the attributes of an “enterprise software 2.0” company and put them on the other side (as I’ve done below), you will see that they share no common elements in their operating model.


That’s because the operating model is exactly that – a model of how various parts of the company fit together to deliver something whole to the customer. You can’t take an Enterprise 1.0 company, and layer an Enterprise 2.0 component on top, and make it work – the system isn’t set up to reward the right behaviors for that 2.0 process, making it doomed from the start. For example, if an enterprise 1.0 company tries to be cool, and launches an interactive user community, it doesn’t change whom they take their product priorities from. They have to prioritize feedback that matters to the executives at their largest customers & prospects, not the feedback of the community. So much for the community which ends up wilting on the vine – and, if history is any guide, probably gets spun out to a 3rd party. The same argument can be made for why they keep their prices high, their products complicated, their contracts long, etc. – they are rewarded for these elements, because the “fit” with the rest of their model.

Today, the most popular element of the enterprise software 2.0 model to “import” into a 1.0 company is the “try before you buy” product, marketed over the web. I see lots of companies that suddenly have a free version, or a trial version of their tools available on a slick-looking landing page. The problem is that most of those companies are just using that as a Trojan horse for a 6 or 7 figure sales cycle for some “other” product. The one that gets all the developers and all the new features.

So, if you want to know if an enterprise software company is 1.0 or 2.0, you need to look at the whole picture. It’s all or nothing when it comes to the way you operate your company.

Let's take a short break from the Consumerization Series... and talk a little about power. Specifically, managing power consumption.  Early last week, Jennifer Geisler highlighted Energy Management Without Borders on the Cisco Innovation blog, highlighting milestones for Cisco's EnergyWise technology. That got me thinking about their approach to this whole energy management space.

When I worked for Cisco in late nineties, they released their first VoIP handset, along with VoIP support in multi-service edge devices. I recall our collective, initial intrigue as we picked up a $1000 VoIP handset and talked to someone on the other end of the demonstration set-up. Sounded just like normal. Expensive? Yes, but kind of cool nonetheless. I don’t recall thinking “wow, in a decade or so, Cisco is going to mow down a bunch of incumbent vendors with this technology & usurp the enterprise telephony budget”. But that’s exactly what happened.

I see similar beginnings in what Cisco is doing with its EnergyWise technology. EnergyWise, which is built into a host of Cisco switches and other devices, allows for centralized, policy-based control of power consumption for those devices, and some of the devices they connect. Think about the ability to manage when wireless APs, VoIP phones, POS terminals, and eventually PCs and Servers are in full power mode and when they are not.

Again, sounds cool – but isn’t there a facilities department that already handles that? Sure. And they have existing vendors, and very capable software to do some of the very same fancy things. But I’m not sure that matters. This problem is one of setting policy, driving automation, monitoring and reacting to changes quickly. IT has been doing those things forever & most facilities teams just haven’t needed to be as reactive to the business.

It may be a while away, and I can certainly see significant hurdles that Cisco will have to overcome – but I can squint and see a day when power management will be a standard service provided by the IT team, just as voice is today through VoIP. Belief in that vision is why we’ve invested to bring EnergyWise monitoring and policy configuration to our Orion NPM and NCM products this year. Download them & let us know what you think on the EnergyWise forum on thwack.

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