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Finding Ingenuity in the Software Industry

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It’s hard to dispute the fact that entrepreneurs are often at the forefront of vision.  They tend to lead the way, generating a wake of interest that turns industries on its head and transforms the products and services that will be part of the future marketplace.

We have seen this many times: Richard Branson changed the face of transatlantic travel by introducing personal TV screens for every passenger; Bill Gates formed the vision of having a PC on every desk and in every home when founding Microsoft – a vision that he is close to fulfilling; Mark Zuckerberg took social communication and networking to dizzying heights with Facebook; Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin changed the way we search and use the internet; and the late Steve Jobs transformed not just Apple but the entire mobile communications industry by being first-to-market with the ingenious iPhone and iPad.  There are many more examples but in each case, the entrepreneur took their idea, and made a difference to the lives of many other people.

One common attribute in all of these examples is that every entrepreneur started off small as the pioneers of something revolutionary, outside of working in a big corporation. By being independent in this way, they had the freedom, control, and power to convert their ideas – and sometimes the ideas of other’s which are passed off as their own – into a reality.

But does such vision have a place inside today’s corporate worlds? In a recent interview, Apple’s CEO – Tim Cook – gives a strong indication that Steve Jobs would not get a job with Apple if he were here today.  The reason?  It’s simply because he portrays the characteristics of an aggressive entrepreneur – political, difficult, possessive, forthright, and a risk-taker – instead of being a collaborative corporate man.  So is this spirit of entrepreneurship dead?  Far from it: the notion of ‘intrapreneurship’ – where employees of the organization possess entrepreneur-like qualities in taking an idea to market – has existed for over twenty years. Arguably, the automobile and space industries employ some of the best intrapreneurs where new ideas come to market but the inventor is never really known outside of the company itself.  But the software industry really seems to be lacking such intrapreneurs.

This may go someway to explaining why some of the newest, brightest, and most ingenious technology-based solutions tend to come from the seemingly unknown: those software organizations that just seem to appear one day, like TOA Technologies and ClickSoftware did in the Field Service Scheduling and Optimization industry. They achieved what the big boys – SAP, Oracle, Infor, Siebel, JD Edwards, and others – all failed to accomplish on their own.

So if you’re looking for some of the best and most innovative software solutions that are coming to market, look outside of the traditional big software players and look at the small, emerging, independently-owned software companies instead.  Because this is exactly where you will find Observato.

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