Editor’s Note: In this article, SandHill’s sponsors and some of our frequent content contributors predict where we’ll see the biggest competitive battles in the software ecosystem during the coming year. They also share opinions on how the U.S. 2012 elections will impact the software world.
SandHill.com: Where do you predict we’ll see the biggest competitive battles for market share among the software/cloud/mobile/SaaS vendors during 2012?
“Mega shifts in cloud, mobile, etc. will pick many of the winners. These may not be the innovators (like Apple) but opportunistic followers (like Android). Oracle will continue to be the IBM of the new millennia, but in the face of open source-based infrastructure, even Ellison will find growth-limiting obstacles. There is very little behind the firewall he does not already sell, and Oracle is unlikely to diversify far outside of IT.
The biggest battles though will be fought where market consolidation is occurring. Some of this will be in SaaS (especially CRM) and mobile (as smartphone markets saturate). Android will continue to expand mobile dominance, and we will see some leakage from SaaS as public cloud vendors and rapid-install open source suites (think PHPfog but on an Amazon EC2 scale platform) become common.” – Guy Smith, Chief Consultant, Silicon Strategies Marketing
“Cloud platforms as a combination of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a major battle between Salesforce.com, Google, AWS and Microsoft Azure. Oracle is the new entrant and needs to deliberately fix the late entrance through steady deliveries and customer wins. Several counter-attacks to Apple and Google/Asia will be launched in mobile software/hardware platforms throughout 2012, especially from MS/Nokia in global markets.” – Russell Hertzberg, VP of SaaS/ISV Solutions and Certified ScrumMaster, SoftServe
“Management of applications across platforms will emerge as a significant competitive battle ground as enterprise customers migrate from private cloud solutions to hybrid scenarios. Portals to enable tracking and burst of use will become more critical but still be too nascent until later in 2012. As there are quite a bit of innovative ideas and emerging solutions here, it is too early to tell who will emerge the victor. However, one critical success factor will be adoption of Licensing as a Service to accompany not only the management but usage tracking and entitlement compliance across the expanded footprint as IT emerges as the broker of cloud brokers.” – Jeanne Morain, Director Strategic Alliances at Flexera Software
“2012 will be the year (PaaS) becomes real and will be where the battleground will be for cloud providers.” – Darren Cunningham, Vice President, Marketing at Informatica
“The biggest competitive battles among software, cloud, mobile and SaaS vendors will emerge in the acquisition area and will positively impact valuations of small and startup technology companies and even larger established providers in this space. Deep-pocketed vendors such as Oracle and HP who have made recent public commitments to the cloud will look to make several acquisitions in the space. As a result, SAP will come off of the cloud sidelines which will start another round of Oracle/SAP competition. As the Azure platform continues to mature Microsoft will do very well and as a result will take market share from Oracle and other established software vendors. Any software businesses without a good cloud strategy will start to lose market share as buyers view this as a sign of a company in trouble.” – Paul Ressler, Principal, the Cirrostratus Group
“The battle for mobile devices, especially smartphones will become more complex. Microsoft may have a shot at gaining some market share with their new smartphones but may not emerge as a leader.” – ShirishNetke, Executive Vice President, Business Analytics Solutions at Saama Technologies
Among the horizontal enterprise application categories, back-office and inter-enterprise segments (supply chain, procurement, etc.) will become the biggest competitive battlefields. IT management solutions and vertical market/industry-specific segments will also become areas of greater focus.” – Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director, THINKstrategies, Inc.
SandHill.com: In what ways will the 2012 elections will impact the software ecosystem over the next three years?
“The 2012 elections will make use of innovative MoSoLoco (Mobile, Social, Local, Commerce)-based solutions and create new use cases for mobile technologies. These use cases will later be adopted for mainstream use.
Big Data analytics will be extensively used during the election to assess and influence voter sentiment. This will also create solutions that can be deployed in mainstream business. Execution of these technologies requires specialized talent, which is not available in the United States. Policies of the new government will influence the migration of talent to and from the United States to BRIC countries.” – Shirish Netke, Executive Vice President, Business Analytics Solutions at Saama Technologies
“Dismissing our current one-term president will (hopefully) remove uncertainty from the market and economy, allowing businesses to resume long-term planning. This in turn will improve all IT technology sales, but software sales in particular.”– Guy Smith, Chief Consultant, Silicon Strategies Marketing
“It will result in continued growth in video storage, video streaming, and video management applications for all the social media driven election news. In addition, all candidates wil develop policies and political platforms that seek to claim the best growth facilitation for the U.S. high-tech industry.
By leveraging SaaS and cloud computing to cut costs, U.S. government IT will become a clear leader in cost-cutting versus the rest of the federal government.” – Russell Hertzberg, VP of SaaS/ISV Solutions and Certified ScrumMaster, SoftServe