Cloud computing, on-demand solutions, subscription fees… software licensing is undergoing significant changes. Enforced by the current economic crises with tight IT budgets, companies don’t have the money to pay upfront licenses and are reluctant to take financial risks over many years when purchasing software. A key factor of the current growth of cloud computing is its financial benefits: no capital expenditures, no upfront financial risk, no depreciation and nothing on the balance sheet! But pay-by-use licensing models are not necessarily limited to cloud deployment models and can be applied to more traditional implementations as well.
Traditional software licensing with upfront payments has served vendors well over the last 40 years. However, over time vendors had to face significant disadvantages as well. The pressure to successfully close quarter by quarter and the fiscal year has led to a common practice by customers to push decisions until year end for a special deal. Discounts up to 80% became not uncommon in the software business. Another problem is the revenue volatility in difficult economic times. In 2009 many software companies had to face a decline in new license revenues of 10 to 25%. Without the constant stream of maintenance revenues many software companies would be facing severe financial problems today.
Of course you can build it from scratch or by combining best-of-breed components, but that will not be the most cost effective approach for enterprises that need flexible and productive (from the perspective of the developer) integration tools.
The recent announcement by GXS and Inovis of their intent to merge will not result in a significant realignment of the B2B service provider space, but it will make the largest provider evener bigger when the current largest provider (GXS) combines with the fourth largest provider (Inovis).
What will each vendor gain from the merger? For GXS, the initial answer is new customers. Even factoring in existing customer overlap, GXS stands to gain an additional 10,000 or more new customers. Beyond that, GXS will now be able to provide its customers with access to the extensive retail expertise that Inovis obtained via its acquisition of QRS several years ago. In particular, the Inovis Catalogue has been instrumental in helping many organizations with their retail data synchronization needs. GXS also gains the expertise of Inovis’ experienced and proven development team.
As 2009 draws to a close, what are the key trends that customer management business process professionals need to pay attention to as you finalize your plans for next year?
Trend 1: Companies Return To Investing In Their Most Important Asset – Customers
Beginning in mid-2009, I have seen a strong up-tick in investment dollars being released by organizations intent on improving their customer management capabilities to capitalize on the economic up-turn. What are their key priorities? My most recent research shows that both B2B and B2C enterprises spotlight improved customer loyalty as their top goal. But, B2B companies are also intent on capturing new customers, while B2C companies obsess about improving the customer experience.
A brief reflection from the SAP Influencer Summit on SAP’s On-Demand strategy
At the SAP Influencer Summit in Boston Dec 8/9, SAP put a lot of emphasis on its new roadmap into cloud computing and how serious the company is taking the topic for its future success. Well, to be true SAP actually avoided the term ‘cloud’ almost entirely and talked about ‘on-demand’ solutions instead. Maybe the company stayed away from the term ‘cloud’ because there is still a lot of confusion in the market (or inside SAP?) what cloud computing actually is, or to simply differentiate from the masses that currently go ‘crazy in the cloud’. Anyways, to offer pay-by-use software applications via self-service over the web indeed is pure cloud computing and SAP has declared it to be a future focus area for the company when Jim Snabe said “… significant [SAP] investment into on-demand will disrupt the market and SAP will regain leadership in this space”.
Last summer, all the research teams across Forrester conducted a special “deep dive” research project to study the roles we serve, to find out more about what’s most important to you, and how we can do an even better job of serving you. We interviewed 32 application development and delivery professionals, and studied their responses. These folks were a mix of clients and non-clients, from North America and Europe.
Our latest BI maturity survey results are in. We used exactly the same questions from our online BI maturity self assessment tool to survey over 200 Forrester clients. Now you can compare your own BI maturity level against your peers by using data from the survey.
In the self assessment tool and in the survey we ask over 30 questions in the following 6 categories
Data and technology
Our clients rated themselves on the scale of 1 to 5 (5, if they strongly agree with our statement or 1, if they strongly disagree). Here are the overall results. Keep in mind that these results do not evaluate BI maturity accross ALL business, but rather in businesses that are already pretty far ahead in their BI implementations (they are Forrester clients, they read our research reports, they talk to our research analysts):