There are thousands of startups trying to offer collaboration software but four of them onstage today at our Net:Work event explained how virality, openness with other applications through an API, and simplicity will help startups succeed against their enterprise rivals, especially those like Microsoft SharePoint. At the same panel CEOs from SlideRocket, Box.Net, Huddle and Central Desktop explained why true collaboration (which isn’t email) is important and how such collaboration software will be built on software as a service platforms.
The simplicity will drive adoption, especially as employees bring in “rogue” software that is virally adopted amongst other workers. And then once it reaches a significant level of adoption, then IT generally steps in and realizes that such consumer-like SaaS collaboration software can be delivered more securely and takes control. As Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box.net said, “We’re experiencing a revolution in the enterprise.” And as part of the revolution, large companies will be created and those with success as platforms will be simple to use and also link to other platforms. As Chuck Dietrich, SlideRocket’s CEO, said, “If you’re an online app, how can you not have APIs?”
However, the bottom line for these vendors was that the emergence of real collaboration and cloud platforms is enabling startups like them to disrupt the marketplace with a different type of product for enterprise communication — a product that is easier for people to use and likely easier for the IT organization to pay for and maintain. Viva la revolution.
Related Research from GigaOM Pro: High-Impact Collaboration in the Enterprise