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Looking Forward: Why Enterprise Software Is Changing

It’s clear that 2011 was the year of the cloud, with many traditional enterprise vendors accepting that the cloud is something they can no longer denigrate or ignore. The ‘cloud’ buzzword has been (sometimes annoyingly) tossed around for upwards of two years, but last year is when it hit critical mass in terms of action, not just marketing and positioning.

Chris Kanaracus, writing for IDG News, highlights a few enterprise trends we’re seeing and hearing in everyday conversations. These give real heft to the notion that the cloud is something everyone should be thinking about and/or planning around. It might not be happening right now, and it might not be top priority for you, but ignore this medium- to long-term direction at your peril.

Here’s one that struck us:

SAP buys SuccessFactors, Oracle buys RightNow, both accept cloud reality

Collectively, SAP and Oracle spent nearly US$5 billion this year to acquire software vendors based in the cloud. If you want to know more then you should visit this website.

Each sought different types of technologies, with SAP’s purchase of SuccessFactors boosting its human-resources software offerings as well as general cloud know-how, and Oracle’s RightNow buy giving it an array of customer-support capabilities.

But the deals have a common thread, marking a sea change for the traditional on-premise software world, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. “[It] signals the realization that cloud deployment will be the predominant approach.”

We do a massive amount of Oracle work, and what we’re hearing from Oracle and our customers is very real and perfectly synchonized: the cloud is real, it’s mature, and it’s time to start figuring out how it can help enterprise IT. It’s not just for early adopters or skunkwork labs anymore.

Along similar lines, you can’t ignore perhaps the biggest story out of Oracle, one that’s sure to mold future IT decisions for a long, long time:

Oracle delivers Fusion Applications

It took a while, but Oracle finally managed to deliver the first wave of its next-generation Fusion Applications, and its launch strategy also showed how cloud computing has influenced the enterprise software market.

The company has taken pains to stress that Fusion Applications can be deployed in a highly modular fashion, with no need to remove existing systems, and at a time of customers’ choosing. Users will also be able to run the software both on-premises and in cloud form, although some of the details of the latter remain to be made public.

Oracle’s strategy is partly a nod to reality, since few customers will rush to rip and replace their core ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems with new software, and Oracle also wants to ensure early users are successful. But its message of easier, more flexible consumption for Fusion is straight from the cloud-vendor playbook.

Now more than ever we are being asked by our clients to come in and help them simply assess: put executive/organizational expectations on a piece of paper somewhere (harder than it sounds, trust us), inventory current systems and capabilities, and plan roadmaps. Such basic blocking and tackling, but given the churn and change in what ‘enterprise IT’ will mean in three years, so important. We offer clients two very powerful planning workshops: our BluePrint Project Services and PeopleSoft Architecture Assessment, both of which are popular. Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of our BluePrint workshops, largely because of the reasons discussed a few hundred words ago: things are changing, and smart planning has never been more important.

Questions? Don’t be afraid to drop us a line. Always happy to have conversations.

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