A few weeks back I posted about the proverbial rising tide raising all boats in the enterprise RSS market, garnering a bit of attention in our little corner of the world for recognizing our competitors and (gasp) actually linking to them (NewsGator and KnowNow) as well. I even cheesily referenced the business classic "Coopetition." I am on a plane now returning to Portland after a quick trip to San Francisco and an overnight visit in New York with my lead investors. I met up with our VP sales Rich Rudolph who had been on the east coast all week meeting with current and prospective customers. Wow, what a week he had! These long flights back are always a great time to not only catch up on email but to reflect upon what larger trends the overall market appear to be experiencing- and of course their affect on our particular business.
So, here's what is coming through to us here at Attensa loud and clear;
- Enterprise RSS is here NOW and the traditionally sluggish enterprise customer is anything but.
- RSS for Blog posts and news headlines are cute but not driving RSS in the enterprise - business/competitive intelligence, wikis, rss enablement of enterprise apps are.
- Microsoft's IE, Vista, and Office 07 are raising awareness big time but IMHO won't deliver what the enterprise needs - client OR server side, so far our customers and prospects agree btw.
- RSS Enterprise Servers such as ours are a new category altogether so be prepared to do a pilot (and make sure your product actually works...this is a big one!)
- One must smile, and contain one's excitement. It's not that often that big businesses (en masse) are at the forefront of a technological shift that we are witnessing today with RSS - with checkbook in hand no less.
So, what about the title of this post? Anyone who knows me (and my team) are acutely aware of our LOVE for winning. And, yes, being second still sucks in most situations. Earlier in my career I started and guided two smaller software companies into leadership positions. At both of these companies, Extensis and Now Software (sold to Qualcomm), we were frankly not first at anything - just better when it counted. Better products, Better technology, Better performance, Better execution. Being better matters, being first doesn't.
We're not first, and in some instances on customer visits not even second - BUT- we're batting 1000 as the chosen solution for the enterprise customers we've touched so far. Attensa is admittedly just getting started, but things are eerily and wonderfully familiar to me.
Here goes my top 10 in no particular order in what's resonating for us with Enterprise customers;
- Make sure your product actually works and can be installed in hours. Not promises, today.
- LDAP integration is required by the big boys and we actually even make it easy. Go figure.
- Be able to support multiple Exchange servers.
- Have a mobile strategy, so far BlackBerry is key.
- Sync. sync. sync. It's not a product, it's a feature, but you should have it...we sync with the new MSFT common feed store too. It's not rocket-science, but it matters.
- Have analytics, IT cares. Bonus for "attention" analytics.
- Make sure users can read RSS offline, a web only client solution is just lame...so have multiple options, the customer decides desktop by desktop what works best for their users.
- User experience counts, and is often overlooked.
- Have an enterprise legacy application strategy (our is Attensa Connect) and ...drum roll....
- Don't drop your prices just to get the business, it just makes you look like a chump.
P.S. After all that show them your attention technology so their users don't drown in 1,000 or so RSS items they'll be getting per day. It will blow them away. ; )