Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 23.1% in 2021 to total $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020.
Garter predicts worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will jump from $242.6B in 2019 to $692.1B in 2025, attaining a 16.1% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).
Spending on SaaS cloud services is predicted to reach $122.6B this year, growing to $145.3B next year, attaining 19.3% growth between 2021 and 2022.
These and many other insights are from Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud End-User Spending to Grow 23% in 2021. The pandemic created the immediate need for virtual workforces and cloud resources to support them at scale, accelerating public cloud adoption in 2020 with momentum continuing this year. Containerization, virtualization, and edge computing have quickly become more mainstream and are driving additional cloud spending. Gartner notes that CIOs face continued pressures to scale infrastructure that supports moving complex workloads to the cloud and the demands of a hybrid workforce.
Key insights from Gartner’s latest forecast of public cloud end-user spending include the following:
36% of all public cloud services revenue is from SaaS applications and services this year, projected to reach $122.6B with CRM being the dominant application category. Customer Experience and Relationship Management (CRM) is the largest SaaS segment, growing from $44.7B in 2019 to $99.7B in 2025, attaining a 12.14% CAGR. SaaS-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are the second most popular type of SaaS application, generating $15.7B in revenue in 2019. Gartner predicts SaaS-based ERP sales will reach $35.8B in 2025, attaining a CAGR of 12.42%.
Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is predicted to grow 67% in 2021, followed by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) with a 38.5% jump in revenue. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is the third-fastest growing area of public cloud services, projected to see a 28.3% jump in revenue this year. SaaS, the largest segment of public cloud spending at 36.9% this year, is forecast to grow 19.3% this year. The following graphic compares the growth rates of public cloud services between 2020 and 2021.
In 2021, SaaS end-user spending will grow by $19.8B, creating a $122.6B market this year. IaaS end-user spending will increase by $22.7B, the largest revenue gain by a cloud service in 2021. PaaS will follow, with end-user spending increasing $13.1B this year. CIOs and the IT teams they lead are investing in public cloud infrastructure to better scale operations and support virtual teams. CIOs from financial services and manufacturing firms I’ve recently spoken with are accelerating cloud spending for three reasons. First, create a more virtual organization that can scale; second, extend the legacy systems’ data value by integrating their databases with new SaaS apps; and third, an urgent need to improve cloud cybersecurity.
CIOs and the organizations they serve are prioritizing cloud infrastructure investment to better support virtual workforces, supply chains, partners, and service partners. The CIOs I’ve spoken with also focus on getting the most value out of legacy systems by integrating them with cloud infrastructure and apps. As a result, cloud infrastructure investment starting with IaaS is projected to see end-user spending increase from $82B this year to $223B in 2025, growing 38.5% this year alone. End-user spending on Database Management Systems is projected to lead all categories of PaaS through 2025, increasing from $31.2B this year to $84.8B in 2025. The following graphic compares cloud services forecasts and growth rates:
Enterprises who are increasing the average number of endpoint security agents from 9.8 last year to 10.2 today aren’t achieving the endpoint resilience they need because more software agents create more conflicts, leaving each endpoint exposed to a potential breach.
1 in 3 enterprise devices is being used with a non-compliant VPN, further increasing the risk of a breach.
60% of breaches can be linked to a vulnerability where a patch was available, but not applied. Windows 10 devices in enterprises are, on average, 95 days behind on patches.
CIOs, CISOs and cybersecurity teams say autonomous endpoint security is the most challenging area they need to strengthen in their cybersecurity strategy today. Software agents degrade faster than expected and conflict with each other, leaving endpoints exposed. Absolute’s 2020 State of Endpoint Resilience Report quantifies the current state of autonomous endpoint security, the scope of challenges CISOs face today and how elusive endpoint resiliency is to achieve with software agents. It’s an insightful read if you’re interested in autonomous endpoint security.
Endpoint Security Leads CISOs’ Priorities In 2020
With their entire companies working remotely, CIOs and CISOs I’ve spoken with say autonomous endpoint security is now among their top three priorities today. Cutting through the endpoint software clutter and turning autonomous endpoint security into a strength is the goal. CISOs are getting frustrated with spending millions of dollars among themselves only to find out their endpoints are unprotected due to software conflicts and degradation. Interested in learning more, I spoke with Steven Spadaccini, Vice President, Sales Engineering at Absolute Software and one of the most knowledgeable autonomous endpoint cybersecurity experts I’ve ever met. Our conversation delved into numerous cybersecurity challenges enterprise CIOs and CISOs are facing today. My interview with him is below:
The Seven Toughest Questions the C-Suite Is Asking About Endpoint Security
Louis: Thank you for your time today. I have seven questions from CIOs, CISOs and their teams regarding endpoint security. Let’s get started with their first one. What happens if an endpoint is compromised, how do you recover, encrypt, or delete its data?
Steven: It’s a challenge using software agents, both security and/or management, to do this as each agents’ tools and features often conflict with each other, making a comprised endpoints’ condition worse while making it virtually impossible to recover, encrypt, delete and replace data. The most proven approach working for enterprises today is to pursue an endpoint resilience strategy. At the center of this strategy is creating a root of trust in the hardware and re-establishes communication and control of a device through an unbreakable digital tether. I’m defining Endpoint Resilience as an autonomous endpoint security strategy that ensures connectivity, visibility and control are achieved and maintained no matter what is happening at the OS or application level. Taking this approach empowers devices to recover automatically from any state to a secure operational state without user intervention. Trust is at the center of every endpoint discussion today as CIOs, CISOs and their teams want the assurance every endpoint will be able to heal itself and keep functioning
Louis: Do endpoint software security solutions fail when you lose access to the endpoint, or is the device still protected at the local level?
Steven: When they’re only protected by software agents, they fail all the time. What’s important for CISOs to think about today is how they can lead their organizations to excel at automated endpoint hygiene. It’s about achieving a stronger endpoint security posture in the face of growing threats. Losing access to an endpoint doesn’t have to end badly; you can still have options to protect every device. It’s time for enterprises to start taking a more resilient-driven mindset and strategy to protecting every endpoint – focus on eliminating dark endpoints. One of the most proven ways to do that is to have endpoint security embedded to the BIOS level every day. That way, each device is still protected to the local level. Using geolocation, it’s possible to “see” a device when it comes online and promptly brick it if it’s been lost or stolen.
Louis: How can our cybersecurity team ensure compliance that all cybersecurity software is active and running on all endpoints?
Steven: Compliance is an area where having an undeletable tether pays off in a big way. Knowing what’s going on from a software configuration and endpoint security agent standpoint – basically the entire software build of a given endpoint – is the most proven way I’ve seen CISOs keep their inventory of devices in compliance. What CISOs and their teams need is the ability to see endpoints in near real-time and predict which ones are most likely to fail at compliance. Using a cloud-based or SaaS console to track compliance down to the BIOS level removes all uncertainty of compliance. Enterprises doing this today stay in compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, PCI, SOX and other compliance requirements at scale. It’s important also to consider how security automation and orchestration kicks on to instantly resolve violations by revising security controls and configurations, restoring anti-malware, or even freezing the device or isolating it from data access. Persistent visibility and control give organizations what they need to be audit-ready at every moment.
Having that level of visibility makes it easy to brick a device. Cybersecurity teams using Absolute’s Persistence platform can lead to humorous results for IT teams, who call the bricking option a “fun button as they watch hackers continually try to reload new images and right after they’re done, re-brick the device again. One CIO told the story of how their laptops had been given to a service provider who was supposed to destroy them to stay in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and one had been resold on the black market, ending up in a 3rd world nation. As the hacker attempted to rebuild the machine, the security team watched as each new image was loaded at which time they would promptly brick the machine. After 19 tries, the hacker gave up and called the image rebuild “brick me.”
Louis: With everyone working remote today, how can we know, with confidence where a given endpoint device is at a moments’ notice?
Steven: That’s another use case where having an undeletable tether pays off in two powerful ways: enabling autonomous endpoint security and real-time asset management. You can know with 100% confidence where a given endpoint device is in real-time so long as the device is connected to a permanent digital tether . Even if the device isn’t reachable by your own corporate network it’s possible to locate it using the technologies and techniques mentioned earlier. CIOs sleep better at night knowing every device is accounted for and if one gets lost or stolen, their teams can brick it in seconds.
Louis: How can our IT and cybersecurity teams know all cybersecurity applications are active and protecting the endpoint?
Steven: By taking a more aggressive approach to endpoint hygiene, it’s possible to know every application, system configuration and attributes of user data on the device. It’s important not to grow complacent and assume the gold image IT uses to configure every new or recycled laptop is accurate. One CIO was adamant they had nine software agents on every endpoint, but Absolute’s Resilience platform found 16, saving the enterprise from potential security gaps. The gold image is an enterprise IT team was using had inadvertently captured only a subset of the total number of software endpoints active on their networks. Absolute’s Resilience offering and Persistence technology enabled the CIO to discover gaps in endpoint security the team didn’t know existed before.
Louis: How can we restrict the geolocations of every endpoint?
Steven: This is an area that’s innovating quickly in response to the needs enterprises have to track and manage assets across countries and regions. IP tracking alone isn’t as effective as the newer techniques, including GPS tracking, Wi-Fi triangulation, with both integrated into the Google Maps API. Enterprises whose business relies on Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is especially interested in and adopting these technologies today. Apria Healthcare is currently using geofencing for endpoint security and asset management. They have laptops in use today across Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Given the confidential nature of the data on those devices and compliance with local government data protection laws, each laptop needs to stay in the country they’re assigned to. Geofencing gives Apria the power to freeze any device that gets outside of its region within seconds, averting costly fines and potential breaches.
Louis: How can our IT team immediately validate an endpoint for vulnerabilities in software and hardware?
Steven: The quickest way is to design in audit-ready compliance as a core part of any endpoint resilience initiative. Endpoint resilience to the BIOS level makes it possible to audit devices and find vulnerabilities in real-time, enabling self-healing of mission-critical security applications regardless of complexity. The goal of immediately validating endpoints for current security posture needs to be a core part of any automated endpoint hygiene strategy. It’s possible to do this across platforms while being OS-agnostic yet still accessible to over 500M endpoint devices, deployed across Microsoft Windows, macOS via a Mac Agent and Chrome platforms.
Knowing if their autonomous endpoint security and enterprise-wide cybersecurity strategies are working or not is what keeps CIOs up the most at night. One CISO confided to me that 70% of the attempted breaches to his organization are happening in areas he and his team already knew were vulnerable to attack. Bad actors are getting very good at finding the weakest links of an enterprises’ cyber defenses fast. They’re able to look at the configuration of endpoints, see which software agents are installed, research known conflicts and exploit them to gain access to corporate networks. All this is happening 24/7 to enterprises today. Needing greater resilient, persistent connections to every device, CISOs are looking at how they can achieve greater resilience on every endpoint. Capitalizing on an undeletable tether to track the location of the device, ensure the device and the apps on that device have self-healing capabilities and gain valuable asset management data – these are a few of the many benefits they’re after.
Identities, not systems, are the new security perimeter for any digital business, with 81% of breaches involving weak, default or stolen passwords.
53% of enterprises feel they are more susceptible to threats since 2015.
51% of enterprises suffered at least one breach in the past 12 months and malicious insider incidents increased 11% year-over-year.
These and many other fascinating insights are from SecurIT: the Zero Trust Summit for CIOs and CISOs held last month in San Francisco, CA. CIO and CSO produced the event that included informative discussions and panels on how enterprises are adopting Next-Gen Access (NGA) and enabling Zero Trust Security (ZTS). What made the event noteworthy were the insights gained from presentations and panels where senior IT executives from Akamai, Centrify, Cisco, Cylance, EdgeWise, Fortinet, Intel, Live Nation Entertainment and YapStone shared their key insights and lessons learned from implementing Zero Trust Security.
Zero Trust’s creator is John Kindervag, a former Forrester Analyst, and Field CTO at Palo Alto Networks. Zero Trust Security is predicated on the concept that an organization doesn’t trust anything inside or outside its boundaries and instead verifies anything and everything before granting access. Please see Dr. Chase Cunningham’s excellent recent blog post, What ZTX means for vendors and users, for an overview of the current state of ZTS. Dr. Chase Cunningham is a Principal Analyst at Forrester.
Key takeaways from the Zero Trust Summit include the following:
Identities, not systems, are the new security perimeter for any digital business, with 81% of breaches involving weak, default or stolen passwords.Tom Kemp, Co-Founder, and CEO, Centrify, provided key insights into the current state of enterprise IT security and how existing methods aren’t scaling completely enough to protect every application, endpoint, and infrastructure of any digital business. He illustrated how $86B was spent on cybersecurity, yet a stunning 66% of companies were still breached. Companies targeted for breaches averaged five or more separate breaches already. The following graphic underscores how identities are the new enterprise perimeter, making NGA and ZTS a must-have for any digital business.
53% of enterprises feel they are more susceptible to threats since 2015. Chase Cunningham’s presentation, Zero Trust and Why Does It Matter, provided insights into the threat landscape and a thorough definition of ZTX, which is the application of a Zero Trust framework to an enterprise. Dr. Cunningham is a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research serving security and risk professionals. Forrester found the percentage of enterprises who feel they are more susceptible to threats nearly doubled in two years, jumping from 28% in 2015 to 53% in 2017. Dr. Cunningham provided examples of how breaches have immediate financial implications on the market value of any business with specific focus on the Equifax breach.
Presented by Dr. Cunningham during SecurIT: the Zero Trust Summit for CIOs and CISOs
51% of enterprises suffered at least one breach in the past 12 months and malicious insider incidents increased 11% year-over-year. 43% of confirmed breaches in the last 12 months are from an external attack, 24% from internal attacks, 17% are from third-party incidents and 16% from lost or stolen assets. Consistent with Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report use of privileged credential access is a leading cause of breaches today.
Presented by Dr. Cunningham during SecurIT: the Zero Trust Summit for CIOs and CISOs
One of Zero Trust Security’s innate strengths is the ability to flex and protect the perimeter of any growing digital business at the individual level, encompassing workforce, customers, distributors, and Akamai, Cisco, EdgeWise, Fortinet, Intel, Live Nation Entertainment and YapStone each provided examples of how their organizations are relying on NGA to enable ZTS enterprise-wide. Every speaker provided examples of how ZTS delivers several key benefits including the following: First, ZTS reduces the time to breach detection and improves visibility throughout a network. Second, organizations provided examples of how ZTS is reducing capital and operational expenses for security, in addition to reducing the scope and cost of compliance initiatives. All companies presenting at the conference provided examples of how ZTS is enabling greater data awareness and insight, eliminating inter-silo finger-pointing over security responsibilities and for several, enabling digital business transformation. Every organization is also seeing ZTS thwart the exfiltration and destruction of their data.
The SecurIT: the Zero Trust Summit for CIOs and CISOs event encapsulated the latest advances in how NGA is enabling ZTS by having enterprises who are adopting the framework share their insights and lessons learned. It’s fascinating to see how Akamai, Cisco, Intel, Live Nation Entertainment, YapStone, and others are tailoring ZTS to their specific customer-driven goals. Each also shared their plans for growth and how security in general and NGA and ZTS specifically are protecting customer and company data to ensure growth continues, uninterrupted.
Enterprise investments in machine learning will nearly double over the next three years, reaching 64% adoption by 2020.
International Data Corporation (IDC) is forecasting spending on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will grow from $8B in 2016 to $47B by 2020.
89% of CIOs are either planning to use or are using machine learning in their organizations today.
53% of CIOs say machine learning is one of their core priorities as their role expands from traditional IT operations management to business strategists.
CIOs are struggling to find the skills they need to build their machine learning models today, especially in financial services.
These and many other insights are from the recently published study, Global CIO Point of View. The entire report is downloadable here (PDF, 24 pp., no opt-in). ServiceNow and Oxford Economics collaborated on this survey of 500 CIOs in 11 countries on three continents, spanning 25 industries. In addition to the CIO interviews, leading experts in machine learning and its impact on enterprise performance contributed to the study. For additional details on the methodology, please see page 4 of the study and an online description of the CIO Survey Methodology here.
Digital transformation is a cornerstone of machine learning adoption. 72% of CIOs have responsibility for digital transformation initiatives that drive machine learning adoption. The survey found that the greater the level of digital transformation success, the more likely machine learning-based programs and strategies would succeed. IDC predicts that 40% of digital transformation initiatives will be supported by machine learning and artificial intelligence by 2019.
Key takeaways from the study include the following:
90% of CIOs championing machine learning in their organizations today expect improved decision support that drives greater topline revenue growth. CIOs who are early adopters are most likely to pilot, evaluate and integrate machine learning into their enterprises when there is a clear connection to driving business results. Many CIO compensation plans now include business growth and revenue goals, making the revenue potential of new technologies a high priority.
89% of CIOs are either planning to use or using machine learning in their organizations today. The majority, 40%, are in the research and planning phases of deployment, with an additional 26% piloting machine learning. 20% are using machine learning in some areas of their business, and 3% have successfully deployed enterprise-wide. The following graphic shows the percentage of respondents by stage of their machine learning journey.
Machine learning is a key supporting technology leading the majority Finance, Sales & Marketing, and Operations Management decisions today. Human intervention is still required across the spectrum of decision-making areas including Security Operations, Customer Management, Call Center Management, Operations Management, Finance and Sales & Marketing. The study predicts that by 2020, machine learning apps will have automated 70% of Security Operations queries and 30% of Customer Management ones.
Automation of repetitive tasks (68%), making complex decisions (54%) and recognizing data patterns (40%) are the top three most important capabilities CIOs of machine learning CIOs are most interested in. Establishing links between events and supervised learning (both 32%), making predictions (31%) and assisting in making basic decisions (18%) are additional capabilities CIOs are looking for machine learning to accelerate. In financial services, machine learning apps are reviewing loan documents, sorting applications to broad parameters, and approving loans faster than had been possible before.
Machine learning adoption and confidence by CIOs varies by region, with North America in the lead (72%) followed by Asia-Pacific (61%). Just over half of European CIOs (58%) expect value from machine learning and decision automation to their company’s overall strategy. North American CIOs are more likely than others to expect value from machine learning and decision automation across a range of business areas, including overall strategy (72%, vs. 61% in Asia Pacific and 58% in Europe). North American CIOs also expect greater results from sales and marketing (63%, vs. 47% Asia-Pacific and 38% in Europe); procurement (50%, vs. 34% in Asia-Pacific and 34% in Europe); and product development (48%, vs. 29% in Asia-Pacific and 29% in Europe).
CIOs challenging the status quo of their organization’s analytics direction are more likely to rely on roadmaps for defining and selling their vision of machine learning’s revenue contributions. More than 70% of early adopter CIOs have developed a roadmap for future business process changes compared with just 33% of average CIOs. Of the CIOs and senior management teams in financial services, the majority are looking at how machine learning can increase customer satisfaction, lifetime customer value, improving revenue growth. 53% of CIOs from our survey say machine learning is one of their core priorities as their role expands from traditional IT operations to business-wide strategy.
The difference between CIOs who lead and those caught in never-ending reactionary cycles is often a strategic IT plan and integration roadmap. It’s the CIOs who take the time to create and pursue an integration roadmap that has the greatest chance of breaking out of always reacting to IT projects and leading them instead. That’s because the majority of inbound requests center on data, reports or analysis only deliverable by integrating two or more systems together.
Five Ways Integration Roadmaps Are Putting CIOs Back In Control
Based on conversations with CIOs across a variety of industries including manufacturing, distribution, aerospace, financial services, and retailing, five factors emerged that led to creating integration roadmaps and getting in control of IT spending and priorities. I’ve summarized these five factors below:
Integration roadmaps are proving to be an effective catalyst for driving purpose-optimized integration strategies, reducing middleware costs in the process. CIOs who create and continually improve their integration roadmaps are prioritizing purpose-optimized integration strategies to more efficiently scale global operations. Creating real-time integration links between SAP and Salesforce is one example of how CIOs are using purpose-driven integration to reduce customer response times for information, improving customer satisfaction in the process. Enabling real-time, bi-directional data updates without requiring complex middleware coding and mapping of data is a challenging task, and innovative startups including enosiX are excelling in this area today.
Defining a path for reducing ETL spending and dependence on logs to troubleshoot errors and measure performance.Reducing their dependence on ETL is giving CIOs and their teams much more flexibility in how they manage IT It is also freeing up system analysts to work on new projects instead of troubleshooting integration issues. With no automated error handling or recovery mechanisms, many CIOs are gradually phasing ETL out for more modern integration technologies that eliminate error logs altogether.
Investing in the latest technologies that enable business process and application logic is making IT more responsive, helping them break out of a bureaucratic reputation. When I asked CIOs about the best way to increase responsiveness to internal customers, they wanted integration technologies capable of scaling across the back office and selling systems to make them more responsive. By having integration technologies that enable business process and application logic, the time-consuming, and often error-filled, the task of enabling new business processes manually goes away. And, when IT can react faster, their bureaucratic reputation is also on the way out too.
Choosing to reduce and eliminate hand-built adapters and connectors from their IT infrastructures to free up support funds and time on urgent IT project needs today. One large-scale industrial equipment manufacturer has a staff of software developers and engineers who do nothing but keep adapters and connectors written in ABAP running across their ERP, Manufacturing Execution Systems, quality management, and supply chain systems. With production centers in the Midwestern US, China, and Europe, the ABAP team is always busy but never innovating. They are just ‘keeping the lights on.’ Having an integration roadmap is going to get this manufacturer out of the situation they are in today, which is draining dollars and time from IT.
Move closer to quantifying the value IT delivers by showing how an integration roadmap provides support for cutting maintenance costs, consolidating apps and introducing new platforms. The ROI of IT often hinges on how effective CIOs are at reducing costs and still delivering a median or average level of service. By having a plan in place to attack integration challenges and costs, CIOs can immediately prioritize steps to improve service, reduce costs, and attain department and corporate goals.
NTT Europe recently completed a study that found 56% of CIOs and Senior IT leaders see complexity of their own Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems as the biggest barrier to their organization’s enterprise-wide adoption of the cloud. The survey contends that cloud adoption continues to be tactical in nature as a result of the inordinate complexity of existing and legacy ICT platforms.
While the study was completed in the UK, the findings are applicable to enterprises globally looking to use cloud computing to better align business and IT strategies. 59% of CIOs and IT Leaders surveyed say that enabling alignment of business and IT strategies using cloud infrastructure is their number one priority.
Key take-aways from the study include:
53% said that launching new services and applications more quickly is a key request they receive from business units. In the transport and logistics sector four fifths (80%) of CIOs confirmed launching new services and applications is their most important business focus.
60% of IT leaders are concerned that cloud providers don’t appreciate how complex legacy ICT systems are, and fear migration to the cloud could fail. A common concern of respondents is how vendors tend to oversimplify their cloud solutions despite the inordinate complexity of ICT legacy platforms and systems.
46% of the IT leaders polled agree that cloud is a great enabler of ‘bring your own device’ and flexible working, through enabling remote access to data and applications. The challenge is making cloud infrastructure work seamlessly with legacy platforms and applications.
68% have had cloud-based systems in place for two years or less. The following graphic shows the distribution of cloud adoption by industry included in the study.
77% of CIOs and Senior IT leaders report cloud-based infrastructure is in use today in their enterprises. 87% of CIOs in media and retail, and 84% of CIOs from telecommunications and ICT companies have already implemented a cloud-based infrastructure as well. The following graphic illustrates the use of cloud as part of respondent’s ICT infrastructures.
28% of the CIOs surveyed stated their legacy systems were too expensive (or valuable) to abandon altogether. The implication is that CIOs and Senior IT leaders expect cloud platforms to eventually handle the complexity of their core business systems while also meeting compliance requirements internal and external to their organizations.
The four industries with the highest concentration of legacy ICT systems include Financial Services (30%), Media & Retail (31%), Transport and Logistics (31%) and Public Sector (30%). CIOs in these industries show the highest resistance to cloud adoption in the study. 6% of CIOs said they have no plans to adopt cloud computing.
Bottom line: CIOs are looking for cloud solution providers that recognize just how uniquely complex their businesses are and can address legacy system integration challenges head-on. With 59% saying they have responsibility for aligning business and IT strategies, greater cloud adoption at the enterprise level is inevitable.
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.
Customers are quickly reinventing how they choose to learn about new products, keep current on existing ones, and stay loyal to those brands they most value. The best-run companies are all over this, orchestrating their IT strategies to be as responsive as possible.
The luxury of long technology evaluation cycles, introspective analysis of systems, and long deployment timeframes are giving way to rapid deployments and systems designed for accuracy and speed.
CIOs need to be just as strong at strategic planning and execution as they are at technology. Many are quickly prioritizing analytics, cloud and mobile strategies to stay in step with their rapidly changing customer bases. This is especially true for those companies with less than $1B in sales, as analytics, cloud computing and mobility can be combined to compete very effectively against their much bigger rivals.
What’s Driving CIOs – A Look At Technology Priorities
Gartner’s annual survey of CIOs includes 2,300 respondents located in 44 countries, competing in all major industries. As of the last annual survey, the three-highest rated priorities for investment from 2012 to 2015 included Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI), Mobile Technologies and Cloud Computing.
Source: From the Gartner Report Market Insight: Technology Opens Up Opportunities in SMB Vertical Markets September 6, 2012 by Christine Arcaris, Jeffrey Roster
How Industries Prioritize Analytics, Cloud and Mobile
When these priorities are analyzed across eight key industries, patterns emerge showing how the communications, media and services (CMS) and manufacturing industries have the highest immediate growth potential for mobility (Next 2 years). In Big Data/BI, Financial Services is projected to be the fastest-developing industry and in Cloud computing, CMS and Government.
In analyzing this and related data, a profile of early adopter enterprises emerges. These are companies who are based on knowledge-intensive business models, have created and excel at running virtual organization structures, rely on mobility to connect with and build relationships with customers, and have deep analytics expertise. In short, their business models take the best of what mobility, Big Data/BI and cloud computing have to offer and align it to their strategic plans and programs. The following figure, Vertical Industry Growth by Technology Over the Next Five Years, shows the prioritization and relative growth by industry.
Source: From the Gartner Report Market Insight: Technology Opens Up Opportunities in SMB Vertical Markets September 6, 2012 by Christine Arcaris, Jeffrey Roster
How Mobility Could Emerge As the Trojan Horse of Enterprise Software
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), the rapid ascent of enterprise application stores, and the high expectations customers have of continual mobile app usability and performance improvements are just three of many factors driving mobility growth.
Just as significant is the success many mid-tier companies are having in competing with their larger, more globally known rivals using mobile-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM), warranty management, service and spare parts procurement strategies. What smaller competitors lack in breadth they are more than making up for in speed and responsiveness. Gartner’s IT Market Clock for Enterprise Mobility, 2012 captures how mobility is changing the nature of competition.
Source: IT Market Clock for Enterprise Mobility, 2012 Published: 10 September 2012 Analyst(s): Monica Basso
Bottom Line – By excelling at the orchestration of analytics, cloud and mobile, enterprises can differentiate where it matters most – by delivering an excellent customer experience. Mobility can emerge as an enterprise Trojan Horse because it unleashes accuracy, precision and speed into customer-facing processes that larger, complacent competitors may have overlooked.
Bottom line: Forward-thinking CTOs and CIOs in governments globally have the potential to drastically reduce process and cost inefficiencies. It remains to be seen if the biggest and costliest impediment of all – which is resistance to change – will be eventually overcome by their efforts.