Collaboration, Integration, Consumerization: The Future of Enterprise Software

Eric Christopher

Back to Blog

At Zylo, we create software to help businesses manage their enterprise SaaS tools, but we are also huge fans of what software helps us accomplish in our lives at home, at work – nearly everywhere. When a tool just “clicks” and makes life easier, it can become life-changing.

It’s a big reason we were elated to snag an invitation to Frontiers 2019 in San Francisco. Slack’s annual conference is a great opportunity to connect with and learn from some true leaders in enterprise software – and see what’s in store from one of our favorite tools.

Here are a few takeaways we noted as highlights from the show.

Connecting Users, Friction-free

Delivering data, communication, and information to the right users and teams at the right times – that’s always been a goal of enterprise software. But what we love about Slack and its amazing track record of success is that it turned the way enterprise software accomplishes this feat on its ear.

We love Slack for being the opposite of an all too common enterprise software user experience where the application system is designed with the organizational goal in mind from the top down, tier by tier until the system invariably reaches (and invariably disappoints) the end user.

Instead, the Slack user experience focuses on solving the user’s primary challenge: The need to effectively communicate and connect with colleagues in a real-time, friction-free way.

Slack’s ascendancy and one of the reasons it’s deployed in more and more enterprise organizations is a direct result of users determining its best-in-breed status. Subsequently, its adoption rate grows organically through teams and employees.

At Zylo, we see this phenomenon frequently – and while there is worthwhile trepidation about users selecting all their own software – the trend supports the belief that ultimately users can and will select the best tool to suit their needs.

We believe that it’s important for IT teams and technology resource managers to recognize this because we find that users acquire software when it offers a superior experience to software choices provided by the business or when no clear software procurement acquisition process has been defined.

Expect to see more of this trend in other enterprise tools as some analysts say winning the best-in-breed race can be a primary determinant in a new era that has redefined the terms and scale of what enterprise software success means.

Build What Consumers Want

Some consider Slack’s success in using consumer-first product design as a bellwether for the future of enterprise-grade software. At Zylo, we 100-percent subscribe to the “build something that people want to use” founding philosophy that drives Slack’s product development.

When applied across the scale of an enterprise, this approach drives what some industry experts see as the consumerization of enterprise software. This includes not only a focus on creating a superior user-focused product (as mentioned above) but also intentionally growing user base (rather than driving acquisition through sales to an IT or Procurement team).

From Zylo’s perspective, we believe the overall shift to cloud-based and software as a service technology also support the adoption of more consumer-focused tools. SaaS opens up the ability for users to adopt new and different tools because their cloud basis makes them inexpensive, incredibly easy to implement, and relatively easy to offboard.

When enterprise software is incredibly easy to acquire, integrate, and offboard, it makes sense that only best-in-breed software champions will earn the right to continue to be utilized throughout the organization. And when that software is no longer in active, productive use, it’s critical to discover that data and drive decision-making to preserve value ahead of renewal dates.

Right Tools, Right Place

Some of the big news just before we visited the Frontiers floor this year was the announcement that Slack now integrates with Microsoft Office 365.

We see this as the first of many software ecosystem integrations that will help make enterprise software systems more interoperable. Because for many of the reasons mentioned above, fewer companies are willing to 100-percent commit to a particular software ecosystem or solution.

Related: Zylo Integration for Slack Provides Instant App User Feedback

For example, Okta found that 76 percent of customers who deployed Office 365 also used one or more apps that duplicate functionality found in that suite (including 28 percent who also used Slack).

Because many enterprises lack the commitment to go “all in” on single suites or platforms, software vendors are supplying more numerous and deeper integrations. This, in turn, can create more effective workflows, especially in multi-suite or multi-platform environments.

The ability to mix and match technologies will only become easier as cloud and digital transformations march on and providers answer their customers’ needs.

To close, we’re huge fans of Slack and what it accomplishes for its users. We believe strongly that its incredible success – especially in enterprise organizations – provides a strong indication for how all software will eventually improve.

About the Author

Eric Christopher

Eric Christopher is CEO and Co-Founder of Zylo, the leading SaaS management platform. After 14 years of buying and selling software, Eric knew there had to be a better way to manage cloud applications within a company. Eric started his career in sales at ExactTarget from 2002 to 2010. He spent the next six years in Chicago leading sales teams at Shoutlet and Sprout Social Inc., and founded Zylo in 2016.