Even if it’s not the most exciting product, enterprise software is hitting up in China in the past couple of years, providing SaaS for CRM, employee performance management, supply chain, SME-facing mobile solutions to name a few. Last year software enterprise companies such as Mingdao and Fascishare have landed major investments. Three prominent figures in this field, Upyun co-founder and COO Shen Zhihua, Mingdao founder Ren Xianhui and Senior VP at Talking Data Jiang Qi, sat down for a fireside chat with co-editor of TechCrunch.cn James Lee.
When asked why they started building enterprise software, Ren’s reason was simple: “Because people were looking for it and asking about it… We ourselves eventually became our own users.”
Especially interesting were the guests’ remarks on whether it was easier for small or large companies to adapt enterprise software. Jiang recalled that traditional enterprises like CCTV were actually quite willing to embrace new technology and understood Internet very well. The force against change, as it turned out, was the red tape attached to institutionalized organizations.
“I’m not as optimistic,” Ren had a different experience. For Mingdao, it was a drag trying to talk the entire big-size company into using a new enterprise software. Perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively, IT departments were in particular reluctant to embrace new tools because they were hardcore on their selected tools. The bosses turned out to be the most open-minded. “I think it depends on the boss’s motivation,” said Ren. If the software boosts efficiency, the boss will undoubtedly bring it in.
Jiang had a similar remark. “I agree that IT personnel at big companies are reluctant to change. Instead, changes are usually driven by direct reports under the CEO, for instance, the marketing department because it needs data-related solutions. Change in un-IT departments will eventually spread to the IT department.”
“It depends on whether the company thinks it is worth learning to use the new tool,” Shen said. For him, change happens easily even in traditional companies as long as it brings productivity.