While the 80-20 rule can be very powerful, the reality is that many of the costs associated with building, supporting, distributing and selling technology products have dropped dramatically in the past decade. Yet many enterprise technology executives are operating as though the cost of distribution hasn’t changed since the early 1990s. In the coming years, I expect startups to increasingly target the massively underserved small- and medium-sized business (SMB) segment by taking advantage of the arbitrage between actual and assumed costs of sales. Self-service sales models will be a key element of these startups that will forever change the face of the enterprise technology business.
As he further explains in his post, there is a significant nascent market at the small business level that has, up until now, been left for Microsoft to dominate. Smart SaaS players, as well as others that do not have legacy enterprise software DNA, are best positioned to successfully target this market in coming years. I think companies like 37Signals are already flourishing here, and serve as a great source of ideas and experience for anyone looking to tap into a greatly underserved market.