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April 16, 2009


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Sameer Patel

Hi Bill
Having had also spent many years on the consulting side, my belief is that with Enterprise 2.0, the need for vendor provided professional services is going to be significantly larger than it’s been for previous technology innovation spikes. First, most of the return on social computing software is nebulous so it’s necessary to identify what processes can gain the most and how to drive adoption and change. Second, I believe that larger SI’s are not going to pay attention to this space for a while and so the onus is on the vendor to provide thought leadership.

I also believe that there’s a fabulous opportunity for new upstart consulting outfits to fill the gap (as we saw from my alma mater marchFIRST, Scient, Razorfish, etc., in the late 1990s). The reality is that most E2.0 vendors have to put what’s remaining of their funding towards product development and awareness. Instead of scaling a PS team, they need a network of reliable partners to pull in.

There’s also an ugly side to this that hasn’t been discussed but that’s worth noting. I’ve heard of at least 2 instances where the vendor has sidelined consulting services as part of the sale for fear of ballooning the initial investment and potentially loosing the bid. That’s led to purchases that are seeing timid adopting since the customer hasn’t fully understood how to use the product. It’s dangerous short term thinking not to mention if it’s a SaaS solution, come renewal time…well there likely won’t be one.

Bill Ives

Sameer - Thanks for your comprehensive comments. I certainly agree about defining processes that can benefit as that will be where you cam measure concrete ROI. Many E20 software can generate the cost reduction from the switch to the cloud. Many vendors who are E20 and cloud have told me that they are having record profits because they are seen as cost reduction drivers. Then the increased productivity within processes can be an addition to the IT cost reduction. An experienced consultant from vendor or not can help companies sort all this out. I also agree about the opportunities for start up experts in E20.

Sameer Patel

To my last point about vendors sidelining PS, to be fair, I should also add that some vendors are getting creative about this. For instance, instead of front loading the sale with long drawn consulting engagements, they offer short, focused workshops to ensure that pilots are as successful as they can be.

Bill Ives


Good addition. I think there is a great opportunity here. When I was with a startup software firm in the 80s we made much more money with services than selling the software. Bill

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