Last week, over the course of three days, Apple’s iOS 7 went from “newly released” to the dominant operating system installed across all iOS devices. Considering the technology adoption curve for other software releases, Apple’s channel control is remarkable.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the speed of delivering innovation to users lately, the multitude of choices they have in the market today, and how to find the right balance between disruption and innovation. Over those same three days last week I was attending DMEXCO in Cologne, Germany. Walking through a showcase of more than 700 digital marketing solutions and agencies is great way to get a sense for where the industry is going.
Trying to understand the breadth of offerings, as well as how they can extend or replace your current tools, can be overwhelming, when it comes to technology adoption. The sense I got from many discussions was that there is an underlying fear of not acting to bring new capabilities in house, but at the same time uncertainty of where to begin. There were as many IT executives in attendance scouting out marketing solutions and questioning vendors as there were marketers. I’m not sure you would have seen that — even five years ago. As Oracle Open World unfolds this week it be interesting to see if that trend continues.
One of the more compelling aspects of a Software as a Service (Saas) application like Eloqua is that when we do a release, everyone is instantly updated to the latest version with all its improvements (take that, Apple!). This is very powerful for adoption, but also creates a great deal of responsibility in ensuring the changes you roll out maximize the benefit to your install base, while minimizing any impact to current business processes.
For example, as a rich Internet application, Eloqua needs an HTML5 capable web browser for its desktop-like functionality to work. Although a significant percentage of the world still uses Internet Explorer 8 or below, we can never natively support it. Many other major vendors such as Google and Microsoft themselves have recently made the same conscious decision to drop IE8 support so that they can leverage advances in browser technology to bring you a better product. In fact, browsers are another good example where frequent, stable releases with high adoption rates have bred success. While Internet Explorer has had long release cycles and updates are user-initiated, Google Chrome has followed a rapid release cycle silently pushing new releases and incremental improvements out to its users every few months. Perhaps it’s not surprising then that only a few years after its first release Chrome overtook IE in popularity in the spring of 2012. At that time a large portion of IE users were still using a browser that was five years old.
What do you think? Do you prefer using marketing solutions that are constantly iterating and changing in the name of progress, or do you feel business applications should to take a measured approach to change to minimize disruption and learning curves? Do you have the same emotional relationship with your business applications as you do with your consumer applications?
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