3rd January 2010
2009 was a year marked by one of the worst downturns since World War II yet despite all of the challenges the software industry soldiered on, buoyed by strong maintenance revenues as companies sat out the worst of the financial crisis. The early part of the year saw businesses baton down the hatches and retrench as they focussed on survival. Frequent re-forecasting and greater attention to risk management became the order of the day.
The downturn made companies question why they had not seen the crisis coming and what they would do differently in the future to manage risk and uncertainty. In these circumstances niche vendors that could provide a safety net by strengthening, governance, risk and compliance or could provide greater predictability around earnings and future prospects fared particularly well. More esoteric requirements, such as environmental reporting took a back seat while boards of management focussed on survival in the short term rather than saving the planet in the longer term.
But as the world’s economies start to recover an interesting dynamic will start to appear as the global ERP vendors yet to capitalise fully on a string of acquisitions go head to head with smaller and more nimble niche vendors. But we predict that it will be innovation, people and domain expertise rather than product that will decide the winners and losers in 2010.