Cloud // Software as a Service
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5/31/2013
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Fritz Nelson
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Google, Workday, Evernote Preach Future Of Enterprise Software At E2

Enterprise software landscape is changing dramatically, driven by rapidly evolving customer needs and a growing list of technology providers ready to answer them.

Evernote CEO Phil Libin calls his cloud-based note-taking/information-storing/memory-capturing application a "second brain," and for lack of a better explanation, that one does just fine. I've described it as a cloud-based app which you can run on the Web, from downloaded client apps on the desktop and on every major mobile platform. In it you can store your notes, website clips (even for offline reading -- there's a clipper plug-in for major browsers), pictures, voice recordings and more (e.g., importing notes from apps like NoteTaker for the iPad or LiveScribe). It has millions of users, some of them taking advantage of the free version, and plenty taking advantage of the premium/paid version. (You can watch a video interview with Libin embedded in this article.)

Three years ago, the product also became a "platform" when Evernote announced Trunk, which created an ecosystem around the product's APIs, including a Trunk store and a host of launch partners, like SAP, which had just started shipping its Streamworks social platform. Beyond these extensions, Evernote also includes the ability -- for premium users -- to share content, making Evernote a poor-man's social business tool.

But still, the company wasn't quite ready to embrace the enterprise until late last year when it formally launched Evernote for Business. With his typical straight talk, Libin called it "the end of butt-ugly software." It let businesses deploy and manage the Evernote application on behalf of employees, and extended this "second brain" company-wide -- a "business brain," said John McGeachie, who's been put in charge of Evernote Business. We'll be chatting with McGeachie at the E2 Conference, and we'll ask him how business uptake has been so far and how companies are using it (and we'll maybe even ask a question about Evernote's desire to build hardware).

And then there's Google, still forging its way in the enterprise, counting on riding the coattails of its success with consumers straight into the corporation, hoping for a mindset ready for change and innovation. I've written plenty about the company's plans here, and about how Google's enterprise chief, Amit Singh, will lead off our keynotes at the E2 Conference. Make no mistake: Google sees a big opportunity to unseat Microsoft on the desktop (browser, e-mail, apps), Amazon in the cloud, and a host of others in social media and communication. If Google's intentions are unclear, consider that Singh spent 20 years at Oracle (yes, another one!).

While Google has become a behemoth on the consumer side, it's still playing the role of disruptor in the enterprise, which makes the E2 Conference a great place to tell its story. It will join several other disruptors, like Jive, Yammer, Marketo, Hubspot, Datameer, 10Gen and more, starting June 17 in Boston. We hope to see you there.

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