Trial and Error Your Way to Riches

NEW YORK — The word “commoditization” strikes fear in the heart of Fortune 500 companies — and well it should.

Geoffrey Moore, a futurist and consultant who practically invented the term “disruptive technology,” said Thursday that most large U.S. companies are losing their edge.

The world economy has been dominated by European and American companies, who have set the ground rules for the last hundred years.

But Moore, giving a keynote speech at the launch of Citrix’ new GoToWebinar on-demand software for organizing Webinars, said that cheap labor in India, China and other developing nations is making it easier for more nimble Asian companies to emerge and out-compete their larger, most established counterparts.

“Developed economies no longer have home field advantage,” he said. “We in the United States will have to become radically more productive, or accept erosion in our standard of living.”

Moore told that small and medium businesses (SMBs) are key to the United States.

“The advantage American companies have is they are faster to adopt new practices, they’re not afraid to succeed through trial and error,” he said.

Moore said that technologies that allow smaller companies to market and distribute their products more cheaply are critical to this movement.

“Small business doesn’t need help with product innovation — they’re quite good at that already,” Moore said. “But in standard sales and marketing, they’re at a disadvantage.”

To that end, Moore praised the on-demand software delivery model because it’s simple and relatively inexpensive means of reaching new markets and distribution channels.

GoToWebinar, offered by Citrix specifically targets small and medium sized businesses.

Brian Donahoo, senior vice president of Citrix Online, told that the company already has seven thousand customers in the SMB space.

“There’s no technical sophistication required to get up and running,” he said.

That’s key to the SMB market.

Merle Sandler, an analyst with Boston-based consultancy IDC who follows the SMB sector, told that most companies with fewer than 50 employees simply can’t afford an IT specialist.

Executives in those companies have to use technology on their own.

“SMBs want simple and easy,” she said.

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