Happy New Year to all!
With everyone back to work after holiday celebrations, it’s time to start thinking about what’s ahead in 2008. To help, I’ve put together a few predictions.
The Economy: In my opinion, the “Big Kahuna” of predictions has to do with the economy. I may not be an economist, but I’ve been around long enough to know the signs of recession when I see them. A quick look in the local (US) newspaper tells part of the story: numerous housing foreclosures and auctions. I haven’t seen that since 1992. In addition, rumors a of a weak holiday retail season abound. Coupled with the current and unfolding lending crisis, a dismal Q4 earnings report could seal it. If I’m right, this means that 2008 budgets will be flat to down – especially for IT. The rest of my predictions are either caused by or accelerated by this prediction.
Market consolidation: As everyone is already aware, 2007 was a year of massive consolidation for BI and EPM software vendors. Although Hyperion, Business Objects and Cognos are gone, the fun’s not over yet. As the big guys feel even more pressure to boost revenues and profits, I believe they’ll gobble up any remaining, above-average software vendors of size (> $100M USD).
Leveraging Existing Investments: With a combination of lower budgets and real urgency to improve business performance, I expect many organizations to try and get more value from software and systems they already own. This would be especially good news for systems integrators – especially those with deep expertise in key vertical and functional areas. So, I would anticipate consultancies become even busier than in 2007 and for a whole new crop to emerge in 2008. Caveat Emptor!
Rise of the Business Buyer: I don’t want to give Nick Carr (Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage - Harvard Business School Press) too much credit, but many IT Departments have become alienated from the business and less relevant than they could or should have been. An exclusive focus upon the largest software solution providers doesn’t help. In defense of IT, much of this may not be their fault and they may find themselves in an impossible situation. Nevertheless, emerging software vendors and consultants have caught on to the trend and are focusing selling efforts on business management – with the promise of implementing business solutions faster than IT can. Of course, these vendors may eventually have to deal with IT, but will avoid it (if at all possible) until business management is “on board”.
New Approaches Map to the Emerging Market: On-demand, open source and software appliances have been around for a few years and have experienced varying rates of adoption and success. However, with the above forces changing the shape of the market in 2008 – these options - offering lower cost and fast deployment - become vastly more appealing – especially to business users! Expect to see lots more of each at the expense of traditional software offerings.
What do you think?