Enterprise Software Future Profiled in Report

A Forrester report describes software-as-a-service and open source solutions as potential agents for change

A newly released report from Forrester Research makes predictions about enterprise software trends within the forthcoming decade. "Enterprise Software in 2017" takes a scenario-based planning approach to help CIOs make decisions on the adoption of various software technologies, as well as to better manage their companies' investments in software.

The report takes the position that CIOs need to consider trends in making decisions because the software choices they make will "create dependencies on products and vendors that last for decades."

The report provides three "what-if" scenarios, which are based on a number of assumptions:

  • Open source software prospects and offshore development trends
  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) vs. the traditional licensing model
  • Globalization economic prospects
  • Trade regulation
  • The effects of consumer-driven software apps on businesses
  • Venture capital funding cycles

The first scenario posits large software company dominance of the market in the near future. Figure 5 in the report shows that just four big software vendors -- Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP -- have consistently topped the list in terms of billions of sales to businesses over the last 10 years.

The second scenario sees a "sharp rise" in open source software and offshore custom software development, with "strong adoption" of SaaS. This scenario sees the rise to dominance of new software providers. Monolithic business apps will slip as flexible applications become more commonly used.

The last scenario is based on "dramatic change to the enterprise software market." SaaS is embraced and buyers move away from conventional software licensing agreements. Business personnel perform work typically done by IT. Web 2.0 technologies are used by businesses for collaboration. Service-oriented architecture becomes an enabler of SaaS, combined with open source solutions.

The compound annual growth rate for the commercial software market would be the highest under this last scenario, which the report predicts would be nine percent from 2007 to 2017.

The report recommends that CIOs consider all of these three scenarios as they make plans for the coming decade, with the idea that elements of each may prove true. The 26-page report was released on March 4, 2008, and can be purchased ($279) at Forrester's Web site here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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