12 month upgrades? Larry Ellison is stifling innovation

If there is one very clear vision that has dictated most of my career as a start-up founder, it is this: traditional business software is crap. I’ve learnt this the hard way having worked with all manner of overly complex software products...

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If there is one very clear vision that has dictated most of my career as a start-up founder, it is this: traditional business software is crap. I’ve learnt this the hard way having worked with all manner of overly complex software products during the years when I worked for the Danish government.

Why do I think this is the case? Well yes, it is partly because of the interfaces and yes, it’s because users are often locked in via contracts and incompatibilities. But, more than any of this, it’s because 99 percent of business software completely ignores the real world of business today. What businesses need and what they value.

Don’t just take my word for it. Finally, it looks as though the software industry is waking up to this fact. Indeed, it appears as though Larry Ellison finally agrees. Why else would he go on a multi-billion dollar shopping spree for cloud computing companies?

Unfortunately, one massive corporation scooping up existing companies will not improve anything. In fact, I think it does the opposite. It stops innovation in its tracks.

Mr. Ellison recently boasted that Oracle’s cloud model will change the way businesses maintain their software by allowing users to decide, within a year, when they’d like to upgrade: “We think a modern cloud lets you decide when you want to upgrade. We don’t decide for you.” 
 
Um, correct me if I’m wrong, Larry, but you are still deciding for your users. It just takes you 12 months. You’re essentially delaying the decision.

I’m driven by a very different goal. I believe that no two businesses are the same. The way to support this is to be as open as possible and provide a platform that allows for customisation and third party development. It’s about being as open as possible with the technology you develop so that your customers can be more efficient.

This is a scary approach for a company that is used to licence fees that trap customers in. But, if you are confident in your product, in its inherent and continuing innovation, then an open and transparent business model shouldn’t affect your bottom line. In fact, it should enhance it.

This is true innovation and it’s a model that businesses are embracing with open arms.

I’m driven by innovation. It is what gets me out of bed every morning. I’m approaching business software from an entirely new angle and undoing the current standards for the industry. How exactly? By empowering businesses with new tools. By creating a software, platform and B2B network that appeals to both parties. By providing value to everyone.

I’m fed up of software companies that impose conditions on their users. Are you?

Posted by Christian Lanng, CEO, Tradeshift
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