Investors are looking for “cool PLM kids”

For many years, enterprise was considered as a boring space. It was so much fun to talk about web, gadgets, Google and many other "cool" things. Why to get worried about enterprise application? Most of the people might think enterprise isn’t sexy thing. Isn’t it just about ERP, finance, big bosses and decisions that taken somewhere on the management floor? What was visible for the last ten years is huge technological development in the space of web, internet, mobile and consumer applications. This is what people were blogging and talking about. This is where all efforts and technological minds were striving. Consumer IT was "on fire" during the decade of 2000s. Our life and state of mind changed with web, mobile devices and other cool apps. Last year, I posted – PLM: Ugly vs. Cool. Quite many people approached me after that post. It was very enlightening to see how big is demand of people for usability, ease and simplicity of enterprise software.

Nowadays changes are coming to enterprise space too. There are many confirmation about that. I was reading TechCrunch article – The Enterprise Cool Kids. Author is speaking about growing interest of investors to enterprise space and brings long list of startup companies focuses primarily in enterprise space. Here is my favorite snippet:

But the hype is changing. Conversations about “the next Instagram” at Coupa, The Creamery or on Caltrain have been replaced with staid assessments about the future of Big Data, storage and the cloud. The mobile, social, local gold rush of 2011 has been put on pause, at least as far as consumer Internet is concerned. VCs are staffing up with enterprise experts to handle the sharp shift in focus. We’ve even heard someone was working on something described only as, “a Path for enterprise.”

Some of the technologies developed by these companies can be relevant for manufacturing, product data management and PLM. Take your time and read the article. The examples of companies and use cases are very interesting. I captured three top common differentiators among these companies – ease of use, low cost and "coolness factor" in the way these companies are solving existing problems.

What is my conclusion? I see enterprise as a very interesting place these days. The amount of unsolved problems in the enterprise space is skyrocketing. Think about mobile phone 10 years ago. Then compare it with iPhone or Android. The majority of manufacturing companies are running software developed 15-20 years ago. Excels are everywhere. Now, imagine the potential to change it. Investors are looking for enterprise experts. I didn’t find companies associated with manufacturing and PLM in the TechCrunch list of enterprise cool kids. So, quest is open. We are going to see "cool PLM" coming sooner or later. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

picture courtesy of TechCrunch article.

2 Responses to Investors are looking for “cool PLM kids”

  1. Dijon says:

    By nature most enterprise systems are not fun or interesting, especially ERP (big yawn), but they are necessary evils. PLM occasionally has some gee whiz aspects to it, with digital mockup/visualization and what not, but it’s still not holding a candle to the consumer focused app-du-jour startups that TechCrunch typically profiles.

    When I hear “enterprise” I think large scale companies. Big fish tend to swim with big fish. So massive corporations are inclined to select solutions from Dassault, PTC, Siemens, etc. (none of whom I really consider “cool” or innovative as companies but that’s OK) for their PLM platform because they can relate on one level or another (the VPs from both company sides could have went to Yale together or something like that). Their rationale may be that those PLM market leaders got to where they are for a reason.

  2. @Dijon, thanks for comment! However, I want to disagree. Even if you are right about “big fishes”… what will happen when new peeps will come to enterprises? ITs? large companies? Just a guess… many things are going to change. Best, Oleg

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