From the obvious to the outrageous, enterprise software predictions often span a wide spectrum at the beginning of every year.
In enterprise software in general and ERP specifically, there are many safe harbors to dock predictions in, from broad industry consolidation to Oracle buying more companies. Or the inexorable advances of cloud computing and SaaS platforms in ERP today, which is often cited in enterprise software predictions.
Too often predictions gravitate too much towards theoretical economics, overly-simplified industry dynamics and technologies, leaving out the most critical element: customers as people, not just transactions. So instead of repeating what many other industry analysts, observers and pundits have said, I am predicting only the customer side of ERP advances in the next twelve months.
The following are my predictions for ERP systems and enterprise computing in 2013:
- The accelerating, chaotic pace of change driven by customers will force the majority of Fortune 500 companies to reconsider and refine their ERP and enterprise computing strategies. Social, mobile and cloud computing are combining to provide customers with more acuity and articulation of what their preferences, needs and wants are. The majority of ERP systems installed today aren’t designed for managing the growing variation and pace of change in customer requirements and needs. In the next twelve months this trend will force the majority of Fortune 500 companies to re-evaluate their current ERP systems when it becomes clear their existing enterprise systems are getting in the way of attracting new customers and holding onto existing ones.
- Highest-performing CIOs will rejuvenate monolithic, dated ERP systems and make them agile and customer-focused, while at the same time excelling at change management. There are CIOs who can handle these challenging tasks, and the future belongs to those who can fluidly move between them quickly. In twelve months, a group of CIOs will emerge that are doing this, delivering significant gains to gross margins and profitability in their companies as a result. They’re the emerging class of rock stars in IT and enterprise computing.
- Quality ratings of ERP systems by internal customers will become commonplace, including 360-degree feedback on ERP performance. This is overdue in many companies and it takes a courageous CIO and senior management staff to value feedback on how their ERP systems are performing. In the most courageous companies, within twelve months the results of these internal surveys will be posted on bulletin boards in IT and throughout IT services departments. For some companies this will be first time IT staff members have a clear sense of just what internal customers need, how they are being served, and what needs to be done to improve business performance.
- ERP systems built on a strong foundation of personas, or clear definition of customers and their roles, will overtake those built just on features alone. This is already happening and it will accelerate as featured-based ERP systems prove too difficult to be modified to reflect the fast-changing nature of personas and roles in organizations. The quickest way to determine if a given ERP system launching in the next twelve months will succeed or not is asking what personas it is based on and why.
- Customers push speed and responsiveness from a “nice to have” to a “must have” as advances in mobility platforms and integration make real-time possible. If there is one unifying need across the personas of customers an ERP system serves, it is the need to improve responsiveness and speed. The same holds true within enterprises today as well. It would be fascinating to look at the data latency differences between market leaders versus laggards in the airline industry for example. Customers will push accuracy, speed and precision of response up on the enterprise computing agenda of many companies this year. Speed is the new feature.
- What were once considered ERP-based operations bottlenecks will be shown to be lack of customer insight. Take for example the very rapid product lifecycles in retailing. At first glance slower sales are attributed to not having the right mix of products in stores, which is a classic supply chain problem. Yet customer-driven ERP systems will tell retailers a different story, showing how product selection, even suppliers, are no longer pertinent to their customers’ preferences and needs. More customer-centric ERP systems will help retailers overcome costly and difficult to recover from bottlenecks in their operations.
Bottom line: Enterprises clinging to monolithic, inflexible ERP systems need to re-evaluate how their enterprise computing strategies are serving their customers before their competitors do.
The latest round of cloud computing and enterprise software forecasts reflect the growing influence of analytics, legacy systems integration, mobility and security on IT buyer’s decisions.
Bain & Company and Gartner have moved beyond aggregate forecasts, and are beginning to forecast by cloud and SaaS adoption stage. SAP is using the Bain adoption model in their vertical market presentations today.
Despite the predictions of the demise of enterprise software, forecasts and sales cycles I’ve been involved with indicate market growth. Mobility and cloud computing are the catalysts of rejuvenation in many enterprise application areas, and are accelerating sales cycles. Presented in this roundup are market sizes, forecasts and compound annual growth rates (CAGRS) for ten enterprise software segments.
Key take-aways from the latest cloud computing and enterprise software forecasts are provided below:
- Public and private cloud computing will be strong catalysts of server growth through 2015. IDC reports that $5.2B in worldwide server revenue was generated in 2011 or 885,000 units sold. IDC is forecasting a $9.4B global market by 2015, resulting in 1.8 million servers sold. Source: IDC Worldwide Enterprise Server Cloud Computing 2011–2015 http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=228916
- IDC reports that enterprise cloud application revenues reached $22.9B in 2011 and is projected reach $67.3B by 2016, attaining a CAGR of 24%. IDC also predicts that by 2106, $1 of every $5 will be spent on cloud-based software and infrastructure. Report, Worldwide SaaS and Cloud Software 2012–2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares, Link: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=236184
- 11% of companies are transformational, early adopters of cloud computing, attaining 44% adoption (as defined by % of MIPS) in 2010, growing to 49% in 2013. This same segment will reduce their reliance on traditional, on-premise software from 34% to 30% in the same period according to Bain & Company’s cloud computing survey results shown below. SAP is using this adopter-based model in their vertical market presentations, an example of which is shown here.
- The three most popular net-new SaaS solutions deployed are CRM (49%), Enterprise Content Management (ECM) (37%) and Digital Content Creation (35%). The three most-replaced on-premise applications are Supply Chain Management (SCM) (35%), Web Conferencing, teaming platforms and social software suites (34%) and Project & Portfolio Management (PPM (33%). The following graphic shows the full distribution of responses. Source: User Survey Analysis: Using Cloud Services for Mission-Critical Applications Published: 28 September 2012
- In 2011, the worldwide enterprise application software market generated $115.1B in revenue, and is projected to grow to $157.6B by 2016, attaining a 6.5% CAGR in the forecast period. Gartner reports that 38% of worldwide enterprise software revenue is from maintenance and technical support; 17% from subscription payments; and 56% from ongoing revenue including new purchases. An analysis of the ten enterprise software markets and their relative size and growth are shown in the figure below along with a table showing relative rates of growth from 2011 to 2016. Source: Forecast: Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide, 2011-2016, 3Q12 Update Published: 12 September 2012 ID:G00234766
Trends of search terms from user accounts and topics of their inquiries form the catalyst of research agendas in many IT advisory firms. At Gartner these two factors and others like them are commonly regarded as leading indicators of future IT spending.
Gartner has been delivering short analyses of these subject areas to clients in the form of reports, with the latest being Search Analytics Trends: Platform as a Service published on June 9, 2011. This report covers user search activity from April, 2009 to March, 2011. For purposes of the report, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is defined as cloud application infrastructure services delivered as a service. Gartner makes the point that PaaS includes no traditional software license and is expensed on a metered or utility basis. Presented below is the time series of searches by month from the report.
A few key take-aways emerge from the report, and they are presented below:
- Cloud Middleware Services including Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) are still unknown to many Gartner IT user clients. As a result this area is seen with skepticism by many of their clients. In studies of PaaS adoption from other analysts at Gartner and Forrester, it is evident that internal software development will make or break the credibility of PaaS initiatives for the long-term.
- When Gartner IT users search for PaaS on the website and throughout online research, the four most common secondary terms are IaaS and SaaS (7.05%), Magic Quadrant (6.12%) and cloud (5.72%). Clearly Gartner IT user clients are looking to define their own technology stack in this area and looking for a framework of reference of where PaaS fits into their own IT plans and architectures. The competitive intensity across the analyst community will most likely go up as a result of the uncertainty many IT buyers have over PaaS.
- The top three vendors that Gartner IT users search for are Microsoft (18%), Amazon (13%) and Tata (11%). Additional vendors include IBM (11%), Salesforce.com (11%), SAP (7%), Google and Oracle (4%).
Bottom line: The key to PaaS adoption in larger enterprises, many of which are IT user clients of Gartner, is how successfully Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) clarify their value proposition and how their apps add value to the platform layer.
In July, SAP bravely broke ranks with the “big is better and ERP is VERY serious business ” messaging the company had seemingly been frozen in for years with a break-out marketing video they produced with Epipheo Studios. If you have not checked out Ephipheo, be sure to. They are doing excellent work across a range of clients.
Earlier this week SAP released their second Epipheo Studios video of the year, SAP Business ByDesign — SaaS Made Simple!
This video attacks the perception many small businesses have of ERP systems being large, unresponsive, complex, difficult to use, and costly. All of this is done with self-deprecating humor, while showing how Business ByDesign can scale to the needs of a small, quickly growing business. It is very well done and worth checking out.
So when the following video came out with its relaxed, casual narration voice, devoid of vendor-speak and the torrent of acronyms the majority of ERP marketing videos have, many took notice. With over 6,400 views on YouTube as of today (July 30th) the message is resonating. The self-deprecating humor about ERP systems is hilarious.