Origins of Enterprise Software

Larry Ellison (co-founder of Oracle) and Bob Miner are responsible for creating the very first framework for today’s enterprise software. In the early days, the development process was very straightforward. In other words, there wasn’t much emphasis on user experience or building something for consumers in mind. For example, you would pick a business function (sales, marketing, engineering, etc.) and create a data model around it.

After creating a data model, the next step is to add user experience to your software solution. The problem is that this process does not include real designers. As a result, the product team takes a bunch of “forms” and essentially glues them on to your data model. For example, take a look at the current UX interface for SAP. There’s virtually no design in the experience and it’s basically a bunch of forms. In other words, it’s not the most attractive place to be managing a project.

On the distribution side, options used to be limited by a very simplistic sales process. For instance, you would verticalize the enterprise software into various segments (healthcare, retail, manufacturing, etc.). Next, a very expensive sales team would be deployed to sell the product based on analysis from the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

For those of you who haven’t worked in enterprise before, this process takes a ton of work and ultimately doesn’t separate you from the competition. After six years of following this process at Box and working to improve our Gartner score, we barely got anywhere. This is a problem that faces many enterprise companies. Ultimately, everyone followed the same process with little room to deviate.

So you are probably asking, why on earth would I get into enterprise software? Fortunately, things have changed significantly since the early days – and I will share some recent developments that have redefined these product’s capabilities.

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About the speaker
Chris Yeh WhereTo, CEO Member

Chris Yeh is the SVP of Product at Box. Chris is responsible for product management, platform strategy, partner ecosystem development and third-party innovation. Prior to joining Box, Chris was the product lead for Yahoo Groups, Delicious and other community products. Chris was also the head of the Yahoo Developer Network, a third-party developer program. Prior to Yahoo, Chris was Vice President of Marketing at Tacit Software - which was acquired by Oracle in 2008.

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