BusinessWeek's Robert Hof interviewed Ray Lane on Web 2.0 trends in the enterprise. As most of you know, Ray Lane was Larry Ellison's right hand man until joining Kleiner Perkins in 2000. Since then, Lane has spoken out about trends in enterprise computing (most specifically software trends); and while I haven't always agreed with him, he certainly is an influencer and someone positioned to tangibly drive industry trends via his role at KP and his wealth of industry contacts.
In this interview, Lane speaks about Web 2.0 and what it means for the enterprise. He also branches into SaaS, and I think that's where he makes a very valid and reasonable assertion:
Is software as we know it dead?
I don't think it's dead. But the advantage of using software as a service is huge (see BW Online, 6/5/06, "Web 2.0 Has Corporate America Spinning").
Can all software be provided that way?
I don't think you can do that with everything. I think there's a big concern over data outside the [corporate] firewall. Some companies, even companies like a General Motors (GM), are comfortable with placing their data in the hands of a service provider if they can keep control of it, so they can manage security. But it's going to take a long time for most companies to get comfortable with that -- another five years.
Lane makes other points, including the obvious point that many "Web 2.0" startups are going to ultimately fail. And, to his credit, he doesn't take a hardline approach one way or another; acknowledging that the incumbent apps vendors have a lot of defensibility, yet there are going to be new juggernauts that come out of the Web 2.0 movement.
Much like the BW overview of Web 2.0 (both are part of the same special feature this week), this isn't groundbreaking stuff particularly if you've heard Ray Lane present in the last year or two. But, it's worth passing along because of Lane's position as having been at top of the traditional package apps market, and now funding disruptive startups.