A few weeks ago I spent the majority of my time in Las Vegas with Software AG at their Innovation World summit. Unlike Vegas, what happened at Innovation World isn’t going to stay at Innovation World…okay poor attempt at humor. Software AG should be touting what they spoke about during the 3 days at the Aria Hotel and Casino. The main theme of the event is around the digital platform Software AG is doubling down on. Smart move? Time will tell…but a positive move in light of the digital disruption we are in the midst of and what we all believe will only become greater changes moving forward.
Software AG aggressively pushed their digital platform agenda from day one on main stage as their executives took turns highlighting Software AG’s efforts with creating a digital platform to allow their customers to innovate. Karl-Heinz Streibich, Software AG’s CEO, focused on 7 drivers that is the catalyst for digital disruptions:
- The shared economy, driven in large part by the Internet.
- Standardization, think of the smart phones we all carry.
- Asset lite companies, as digital becomes the main asset companies are shedding traditional assets.
- Transparency brought by greater connectivity, this will only accelerate with the rise of the IoT (Internet of Things).
- Fast sprints of innovation, digital platforms allows for rapid innovation.
- Lower costs, with digitization the costs are reduced.
- Unbridled creativity, once digitization has touched “everything” creativity will only continue to explode.
Such drivers continue to change the way companies and service providers address the market. Of course the undertone from main stage was that the customers know better what their business needs are, while Software AG knows best how to translate this into bites and bytes. This is the nature of the business world we are currently living in – digital has created an acceleration that is unprecedented. Vendors and solution providers cannot predetermine what problems and business use cases their customers will have next quarter let alone in 6-12 months. The idea of providing the platform – truly a Lego set for customers to then go out and create their own solutions. Karl-Heinz was right in saying – you know your business better than anyone, but we know the digital aspects better than you…let us work together.
There is a caveat to this notion – that while digital has greatly disrupted business, there are some truisms that will remain. The majority of business use cases have some basic aspects and needs that are consistent across industry and company. Under this light it is important that companies such as Software AG lean on their industry teams to accelerate focused business processes that are vertically aligned. Verticals such as retail, finance or manufacturing are already looking at how they can bring their industry insights to accelerate the time to productivity with their solution sets. Can Software AG leverages their vertical teams to start creating some standard building blocks that their N+1 customer in that specific vertical take advantage of?
The challenge for the German software vendor lies in their ability to pivot into verticals, compete with other service providers that have longer histories and track records servicing these verticals. The advantage Software AG brings is they are also not wed to their legacy offerings, which many other vendors are still fighting.