We got the big trend right: Enterprises would increasingly deliver software as an online service. The moniker back then was "application service provider" rather than cloud or SaaS provider. But we hear about the same benefits almost 15 years later: Customers can implement software-as-a-service more quickly than on-premises versions and focus more on producing business results and less on managing software. What's surprising in retrospect is two of the main vendors that were touting this movement: Oracle and Microsoft. "All the major software companies are going to have to become ASPs," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer envisioned desktop and collaboration software becoming a service "over time." Salesforce.com formed that year, but it would be another five years before it bagged a 1,000-subscriber customer. Spotting long-term trends is one thing; knowing when they'll take off is another.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.