Tuesday, June 29, 2010

5 technology trends every software marketer needs to know about

You don’t build products, write code, design architectures, or fix bugs. So why on earth should you want to be aware major trends that are happening in the software development space?

Because these current trends are big, transformative, and are changing the nature of how software is built, delivered, and sold. As a B2B marketer in the software space, these trends will likely have a major impact on how you do your job, or whether your job exists in the coming year or two. These trends are crucial to understand in order to see potential new opportunities, anticipate competitive threats, and be in front of emerging trends.

Here are 5 new trends in the software development landscape that will likely have a significant effect on our role as marketers of software:

1) Development Speed:
Looking back at software development in ancient times – like the early 2000s – it was *much* slower than it is today. This is not a “back in my day” rant, it’s just the nature of the business. Software, in many ways, works like Lego. You work with building blocks to create something. However, much like Lego, the building blocks evolve over time, and new pieces are developed that snap in quickly to do a task that used to take many weeks of coding.

Note for Marketers: Expect new capabilities in your space to pop up, fully formed, much more rapidly than they did just a few years ago.

2) Selling without Transactions:
Once you convince someone that your product is worthy, the “transaction” part of the sale has always been real work; taking credit cards, establishing AR departments, dealing with credit scores. However, major platforms like the iTunes purchase network that sits behind iPods, iPhones, and iPads makes this disappear. Sure, Apple gets a hefty cut, but a software developer does not need to build any “transaction” capabilities.

Note for Marketers: Brainstorm on how your business model might be attacked by a new entrant, with very low costs, selling $0.99 transactions.

3) Devices Everywhere:
The proliferation of high-end mobile devices like the iPhone, Droid, and iPad means that developing location-aware, mass-market software is, for the first time, very viable. Expect these capabilities to challenge the way in which we think about the “standard set of capabilities” of the markets that we are in.

Note for Marketers: Analyze whether your technology could benefit from location-awareness in any way. Someone will be trying this angle.

4) Connections Everywhere:
While we have heard about technical stuff like Web Services, APIs, and REST for a long time, it has always been squarely in the realm of the technologists. The important trend to be aware of now, as marketers, is that finally this trend has reached critical mass. Nearly all major platforms now have robust ways of hooking into each other quickly, easily, and seamlessly. Think about how prevalent the Facebook “Like” button has become as it is “snapped in” to websites around the world, bring a small element of Facebook functionality to those websites.

Note for Marketers: Assess whether a competitor might leapfrog you by “snapping in” capabilities from an ecosystem of providers. Assess whether similar opportunities exist for your team to leapfrog others in your space.

5) Innovating in the Cloud:
There’s been a lot of buzzword confusion when it comes to “Cloud” these days, as it seems like every vendor is renaming themselves a “Cloud” vendor. However, there’s one very interesting new trend to watch – the ability for developers to quickly create and deploy new applications on platforms like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, with only monthly costs, means that we can expect a faster pace of interesting new innovations in the SaaS space. While some of these innovations will be stand-alone software applications, many of them will be quick add-ons and enhancements to existing software.

Note for Marketers: Look for ways that your ecosystem of clients and partners can help you innovate and explore new areas and verticals through add-ons and extensions, rather than exploring this all in-house.

Things are changing rapidly in the development space, and while much of this change is not worth being aware of, these 5 major trends may have influences that extend well beyond the bits and bytes of software development.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar


Ashutosh said...

Great post! Thanks!