In This Case, it is the Big Things

Oct 20, 2005

Allen Bernard

Ten years ago if you asked an IT manager how to solve an enterprise-wide problem they probably would have told you to bite the bullet, spend big bucks and buy a enterprise-class solution.

Today, that's not the case, according to new research by IDC: Software Macro-Trends: Reshaping Enterprise Software .

Today's IT enterprise managers are all about getting the most from those past investments. New technology is entering the enterprise not in a sweeping, all encompassing fashion that pushes old ways aside, but in more thoughtful and measured ways that leverage existing technology, said Henry Morris, group vice president for the Integration, Development, and Application Strategies (IDeAS) research group.

"All of these (trends), in some fashion, relate to not throwing in major new investments but integrating and making better the investments we have," said Morris. "Many of these trends we are looking at are about establishing better connections across these systems, managing the information that is, unfortunately, separately handled in these different systems."

IDC has identified eight macro-trends that are operating in today's enterprise and software industry—affecting users and producers alike—and will continue to impact the industry for many years to come. They are:

  • Enterprise Workplace - The enterprise workplace macro-trend conjoins smarter and more intuitive, collaborative user experiences with business process management and helps drive the adoption of composite applications.

  • Enterprise Solutions Platform - Increasingly, larger vendors will be able to respond to virtually any kind of enterprise solution need with a comprehensive solution suite, not just an applications suite.

  • Intelligent Process Automation - Business intelligence (BI) is moving into the context of the business process, not just to make users' information experience more effective, but also to allow for business process optimization.

  • IT Life-Cycle Management - Development and deployment life cycles are not so disjointed anymore. IDC sees the demand for better visibility into IT and the desire to increase IT effectiveness as drivers behind the IT life-cycle management (ITLM) macro-trend.

  • Information Governance - Driven by compliance and augmented by developing metadata-driven data/content convergence, vendors will help enterprises gain control over their information, decrease costs, and enjoy new usability through information governance.

  • Intellectual Property Management - As the supply side consolidates and as open source becomes mainstream, the need for intellectual property protection blossoms. Thus, vendors, investors, and customers will increasingly pay heed to intellectual property management.

  • Dynamic IT Infrastructure - Infrastructure management software vendors will address operational efficiency by providing software that implements adaptive and on-demand infrastructure management strategies.

  • Virtualization - IT still wants performance, scalability, reliability, and optimal use of system resources. Virtual environment software, in macro-trend form known as virtualization, is seen as a growing success factor in IT operations.

    "The macro-trends foreshadow major disruptions in the software industry. For example, enterprise solutions platform highlights a shift away from ERP suites as the center of gravity in applications, said Morris.

    "Intelligent process automation speaks to the rising importance of operational decisions as the target for improvements in business efficiency. And the pull of compliance brings renewed attention to information governance across the enterprise."

    The macro-trends identify fundamental metamorphoses in the nature of software solutions, how IT works, and the relationships between buyers and suppliers.

    Morris and his team also looked at the softer side of IT such as the next generation of worker and the impact they will have, as a group, on the workplace. Much more connected than any generation in history, these new workers will change the workplace in ways yet to be contemplated.

    There is also a shift afoot in the way software is produced and consumed that will, in the long-term, blur the lines between packaged applications and custom applications, for example. Service orientated architectures and composite applications will mean solutions are formed from various pieces and parts to form a whole.

    As opposed to the way things are today where applications are often viewed as the solution, in the future, the solution will have very little to do with the applications and infrastructures they are derived from.

    These trends change "the way people use software, the way IT has to deploy and manage the software and then, the other view of this is, it changes the competitive landscape in terms of who is producing and supplying the software," said Morris.


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