Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

The audience was treated to an afternoon of discussions about where the tech world is heading.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Steve Papa from Endeca and Parallel Wireless gives us a glimpse of his entrepreneurial mind.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Andy Ory of Acme Packet and 128 Technology talks with Jody Rose of the New England Venture Capital Association about picking the right market for a startup.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Attendees included venture capitalist Jamie Goldstein (left) and corporate attorney John Chory.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Carbonite's Mohamad Ali (center) says corporate data is scattered all over the place. Avalon Ventures' Rich Levandov and DataGravity's Paula Long look on.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Matrix Partners' Hardi Meybaum (right) chats with an attendee after the program.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Ash Ashutosh from Actifio kicks things off by telling us that infrastructure is dead---long live the application.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Yuchun Lee (right) talks with an attendee about how to rethink enterprise sales.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Yours truly moderating a cybersecurity chat with (L-R) Scott Montgomery from Intel, Michael Daly from Raytheon, Christopher Ahlberg of Recorded Future, and Tas Giakouminakis of Rapid7.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Actifio's Michael Troiano captures the scene for posterity.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Susie Kim Riley of Aquto talks about new models in wireless and telecom.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Speakers mingling with attendees: one of the main goals of Xconomy events is to bring business communities together.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Attendees share a laugh during one of the networking breaks.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Ellen Rubin of ClearSky Data and Plexxi's Rich Napolitano disagree on non-compete clauses, but it's all good.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Investor meeting of the minds: that's Converge Venture Partners' James Geshwiler at center.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Tas Giakouminakis, co-founder of Rapid7, tells us we're basically screwed when it comes to security threats (I'm paraphrasing). Christopher Ahlberg is on the left.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Plenty of time before and after the program for networking and discussions.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Charlie Gero of Akamai talks about the latest efforts in cloud networking.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

How to build the next great infrastructure company: one of the centerpiece discussions of the afternoon.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Our audience has plenty of new ideas and viewpoints to absorb.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Dan Phillips of CloudHealth Technologies lays out the cloud infrastructure landscape, and it has a distinctly New England flavor.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Steve Papa fields questions from inspired students and entrepreneurs.

Photo by Keith Spiro Photography

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Enterprise Tech Strikes Back

Steve Papa said it takes having a different viewpoint and the persistence to turn a bad idea into a good idea. Andy Ory said it takes choosing the right market and problem to solve in the first place. Ash Ashutosh said that fast is the new big.

The translation from these successful serial entrepreneurs: building an enterprise-tech startup is hard work, but there has never been more opportunity than now.

At Xconomy’s Enterprise Tech Strikes Back conference this week, we heard from a star-studded lineup of founders and executives in areas such as data storage and management, cybersecurity, networking, telecom, and cloud. Those are traditional-sounding fields that are getting a makeover as emerging startups challenge big vendors like Oracle, IBM, HP, and (of course) EMC-Dell.

Huge thanks to our hosts, the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology; our gold sponsor, Cantina; and our silver sponsors, EMC and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Thanks also to Keith Spiro Photography for the pictures above.

Here are five takeaways from the conference:

1. Boston has major strengths in enterprise tech—but needs to do more. Actifio’s Ashutosh said the East Coast accounts for some 40 percent of all enterprise IT. Plexxi’s Rich Napolitano, a longtime EMC executive, said “we need a better ecosystem here”—meaning more collaboration and mentorship in the enterprise-tech community.

2. The IT market is up for grabs. Whether you’re talking about primary data storage, backup, cloud networking, or wireless networks, no traditional vendor is safe. There’s just too much pressure from lower-cost, flexible architectures, and too many options for big companies when it comes to their infrastructure needs. “This is that weird moment where nobody owns it,” ClearSky Data’s Ellen Rubin said.

3. Data management is a huge problem. It’s not that data is big, it’s that it’s “scattered all over the place,” Carbonite’s Mohamad Ali said, adding that the average enterprise uses 57 different “clouds” (think Salesforce, DocuSign, Google Docs, and other software as a service). DataGravity’s Paula Long agreed that data has risk and needs to be better tracked. “Data is under siege,” she said.

4. Cyber insecurity is everywhere. Data breaches may be overrated, at least when it comes to their impact on companies’ brands. But it’s not just databases that are getting hacked. There are “going to be a lot more avenues of attack,” Rapid7’s Tas Giakouminakis said. With the rise of the Internet of Things, hackers may be able to access information and infrastructure through connected devices like cars, watches, and light bulbs. Intel Security’s Scott Montgomery noted that of the top seven faucet makers, all of them have Internet-connected products.

5. Power will be more distributed. Despite the Apples, Amazons, and Verizons of the world, the consensus seems to be that in IT, the landscape is flattening. Boston may need more big anchor companies for talent flow and economic reasons, but the rise of cloud-based apps means cycles of dominance are shortening and smaller players will have more influence. As Matrix Partners’ Hardi Meybaum hinted, a whole generation of entrepreneurs born in the cloud won’t have it any other way.

Jeff Engel contributed to this report.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Editor in chief. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com.