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The next big thing in the enterprise is… massive disruption

Cory Johnson, Editor-at-Large of Bloomberg Television led a great, fast-paced panel this morning at the Bloomberg Enterprise Technology Summit this morning, joined by Benjamin Fried, Chief Information Officer, Google, Dwight Merriman, Chairman and Co-Founder, MongoDB, and Scott Weiss, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz.

Here’s a few highlights.

Johnson started by admitting that when he launched his Bloomberg West show they tormentedthemselvthemselveson the key themes for enterprise tech, and came up with the now well-worn triangle:  social, mobile, and the cloud. (Sounds like he’s reading Gigaom Research.)

Merriman of MongoDB steered the question of what is the most important trend in enterprise to — big surprise — database. Paraphrasing (which is what I am doing throughout) he said something like this:

The big trend now in IT is that the data layer of apps is being disrupted. 25 years of relational database, which is now shifting to what might be called big data, but it’s more than just ‘big’ it’s about two new innovations:

1. Hadoop – data processing

2. NoSQL – operational database

When asked about data, Fried pointed out that enterprise data is generally relatively small:

Enterprise data is actually pretty small, like HR data, accounting — it’s all small.

When I think about our enterprise we are willing to build our own tools. We can step back and think about what enterprise tech should be. What’s yesterday’s news? No one would do anything than Saas if they didn’t have to. The switch is inevitable, and will happen in accordance with risk profile.

Fried also made some great comments about moving away from corporate networks:

Great connectivity to the web is more of a productivity benefit than other things, like BYOD.

I think we will soon see the end of the corporate intranet. The bottleneck involved with connecting employees to a company-owned and managed datacenter in Kansas is just too big. And the insecurity that comes from scenario of a carpet cleaner working the night shift plugging into the corporate network in a port in the wall is just unacceptable. We’ll see the Zero Trust scenario take over. So when employees go online it’s just the Internet, and security everywhere is managed the same way.

Weiss made some observations that I think are dead on about the state of the enterprise software world:

The top 5 enterprise vendors all look vulnerable. Mobile, SaaS — it’s shaking the foundations of the enterprise world.

Johnson asked ‘Who’s most vulnerable?’ But the tenor of the give-and-take is that all the majors — IBM, Oracle, etc. — are scrambling. Johnson offered up the example of IBM transitioning from trying to sell Watsons to a new push to sell access to Watson in the cloud.

Weiss then made some predictions and observations:

We’re going to see some big checks, because the majors need to make the shift to the world of service orientation, and rapid  agile innovation.

Next wave of enterprise will be about mobile. Think about Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram. People scoffed at the $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, but Zuckerberg isn’t getting enough credit for the Facebook mobile turnaround.

All the enterprise companies have terrible mobile. They will all go in the direction that consumer apps have, but it’s taking a long time.

Merriman chimed in:

The enterprise home-rolled apps will have to do the same, too. Agile, nimble, real-time, just the same challenge that enterprise vendors have.

Weiss turned to mobile and the cloud:

Mobile is going to change the enterprise. Amazon will wipe out the private cloud.

Facebook and Google have been innovating the data center, Amazon is a fast follower. VMware is a tourniquet.

Again, Fried made the economic argument about transitioning to large-scale cloud from the giants:

We now have 80 apps now running on App Engine and operational costs went to zero. You only pay for what you use. Companies can’t compete with the scaled-down costs of these Internet giants.

But Weiss clsed by saying that Google and Amazon are slowing adoption, because they aren’t attuned to the way that enterprise has been buying hadware and software:

Google and Amazon don’t speak enterprise. We don’t have to have dinner or play golf.

A great panel, which may wind up being the high note of the conference, although they never got around to talking about social, really, at all.