Those companies have started to architect software around extracting better, more timely insight about and from their customers, or simply to deliver a better customer experience that builds brand loyalty.
Process improvement, automation and cost efficiency are the priorities of the past. And now that companies can listen to, predict and model customer behavior with some degree of accuracy, they've come to a singular conclusion: Let's get on with it.
[ Tread carefully on this social network. Read 8 LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes. ]
This new sense of urgency has produced new delivery mechanisms (cloud, appliance, mobile, Web); raised the importance of integration and customization; elevated attention to user experience to an obsession; given rise to entirely new categories of software (or at least new names, such as talent acquisition, human capital management, revenue acquisition management); invited once-consumer-focused vendors to also serve enterprise customers; and extended IT decision-making authority outside the realm of CIOs and business unit directors.
If any of these trends sounds familiar or scary or exciting or, most of all, critical -- and why wouldn't they? -- then (cue shameless plug) consider attending the E2 Conference in Boston from June 17 to 19, where our tracks and keynotes will dive deeply into these issues.
We'll be talking with the top executives at vendors such as Workday and Kenandy, companies built to disrupt the notion of what enterprise software should do and how it should be deployed and managed. We'll be speaking with top execs at Google and Evernote, two Web-centric vendors most often associated with consumers but whose software is tugging on the heartstrings of enterprise end users.
Naturally, we'll be discussing social media and how it's changing the workflows of internal employees and the way companies listen to and interact with customers. We'll be talking with pure-play social companies such as Jive and Yammer, among others.
And we'll be having a grounded series of conversations about big data and analytics with big thinkers at the likes of Informatica, Datameer and 10Gen.
Out of all of these conversations will emerge a better sense of the entire customer experience, from listening to delivering something meaningful. This concept goes beyond big data and sentiment analytics and social business. Some call it the customer cloud or the marketing cloud, or maybe it's the era of the "big customer," as Wells Fargo analyst Jason Maynard likes to call it. Industry players such as Marketo have turned heads here. Meanwhile, Oracle and other major vendors are making acquisitions to try to turn the tables back in their direction. This is anyone's game to win, and we'll get a good glimpse at some of the newest offerings and efforts in a panel that includes Marketo and Oracle.
Of course, we'll hear from real customers, too, including the CIO of the nimble (and World Series champion) San Francisco Giants and the CIO of the city of Boston. And we'll be asking some nitty gritty questions. Can companies really measure the return on their social business investments? And if companies manage to collect all of this fantastic customer data, are they ready -- organizationally and culturally as well as technologically -- to take advantage of it?
Please join us for the new, modern day enterprise software conference: E2. Learn more here.