Co-founder of prooVView Author Profile
There is a simple answer to the question: what is driving enterprise innovation? It’s survival.
The mantra “innovate or die” has never rung truer and the penny has finally dropped: companies recognise that if they don’t disrupt their market, someone else will.
And that someone else could just as easily be a fresh-faced new entrant - a “citizen developer,” operating from their garage, with a bit of tech know-how and an internet connection - as it could be a traditional, established corporate player.
Enterprises all over the globe realise that, in an age of digital disruption, they must be tuned-in to emerging technology. They must be ready to leap, agile as a cheetah, on the game-changing solutions that will build their innovation strategies, push the boundaries of what they offer and maintain their competitive advantage.
They must work with startups and tech-mavericks to develop a more entrepreneurial corporate culture, one which will position them in far better stead for our always-on, constantly changing digital world.
So far, so good. However, as with so many things in life the theory is much easier than the reality. The reality is messy. Despite acknowledging the importance of enterprise innovation, there are still many barriers which get in the way.
The harsh truth is that many enterprises – especially big corporations – do not have the culture necessary to nurture new technology, especially technology that may eventually threaten their entire business model.
It’s human nature, after all, to retreat into entrenched, habitual behaviour when you feel threatened, rather than embrace the new and different. Enterprises are also so bogged down by complex, tedious legacy IT systems that the mere thought of integrating these with new technology is exhausting for even the most energetic of CIOs and CTOs.
And – should a CIO or CTO muster the energy to investigate emerging technology that suits their needs – they will soon find themselves drowning in requests and pitches from software vendors and startups, each requiring a standalone testing environment and supervision.
To make matters worse, hefty investments in both time and money are no guarantee of success either, with many pilots failing, often due to partnership mismatches. It’s no wonder that for vendors, so many CIOs and CTOs are difficult to reach..
I’ve been building enterprise software for the last 22 years and this has certainly been my experience. I wasted many an hour, day or week, chasing corporations to convince them to open testing environments so we could run PoCs, knowing the solution could revolutionise their business.
It was utterly frustrating to see these exciting, ground-breaking, time-sensitive opportunities being missed. This was easily the biggest pain-point I encountered in my career in enterprise innovation. No pain, no gain, goes the saying. But, when it comes to enterprise innovation it’s an adage I don’t buy.
The pain wasn’t just reserved for vendors, either. It was equally raw and penetrating for clients too, who shared vendor angst. I could feel their frustration, even in the midst of a frazzled phone call. They knew their PoC cycles were too long and too inefficient, but they felt powerless; there didn’t seem to be any other way.
Until now. Borne of our frustration, fellow CTO Alexey Sapozhnikov and myself joined forces to create prooV. This platform brings vendors and companies together in a hassle-free way, so they can test new software.
As with so many successful business ideas, the premise is startlingly simple and a win-win for both sides: clients get to discover the next business-disrupting technology at low risk and low cost, vendors get to “prooV” to clients the full potential of their software, letting the tech talk for itself.
prooV enables enterprises and startups to communicate directly in order to improve technology and scale new solutions quickly. The prooV Pilot-as-a-service approach reimagines the PoC process from beginning to end, making it easier for enterprises and vendors alike to share new solutions, test, track, analyze and report.
When CIOs and CTOs work closely with startups on PoCs in this less stressful way, they see firsthand the qualities that make entrepreneurs innovative: a laser-like customer focus, aptitude for risk taking, insatiable curiosity, a creative attitude to problem solving, and an embracing of a constantly changing business landscape that ultimately drives the bottom line of an organization.
I’ve sat through my fair share of dreary presentations in my career, many centered around “How to Drive Enterprise Innovation,” and I can tell you unequivocally: witnessing how true entrepreneurs behave first hand, as you can on the prooV platform, is more powerful than any Powerpoint slide or seductive statistic, and more beneficial for making innovation a foregone conclusion.
Toby Olshanetsky is founder of prooV.
What Is Driving Enterprise Innovation?