I’ve written in the past about how the relentless march of progress in software has made yesterday’s innovations today’s commodity.
This article from HBR captures the essence of how the software landscape is in the process of making traditional, data-oriented, system-of-record, transactional systems into commodity systems. Companies that have made a living with these traditional systems are going to wake up very shortly and find that their customers have become someone else’s community participants.
The combination of ubiquitous mobile connection, cloud computing, and the general adoption of social media is in the process of changing the expectations of software users. Keeping their data safe is no longer enough. They now expect (or soon will) a more immersive experience.
This doesn’t mean a link to a Facebook fan page that is merely a shallow marketing ploy. Users expect that their hosted application will allow them to interact with all of the other uses of your software (see Spiceworks as the best example of this). They expect that the software they run their business on enlists them into the community of users of your software. Don’t have a “community” of users? Your competition soon will.