TEC analysts speculate about developments to come in a variety of enterprise software spaces in the year ahead. (See also P.J. Jakovljevic’s sneak peek at 2013 and Bob Eastman’s look at what’s in store for supply chain.)
Josh Chalifour, Director of Knowledge Services, on enterprise information management:
Across the enterprise software market, cloud-based delivery models are a vector of concern. Demand however has been slow to pick up for these models in enterprise information management spaces. Between 2010 and 2011, we saw demand hover at just over 20 percent of the inquiries we receive from end-user organizations. In 2012 demand moved incrementally higher, to about 26%.
A large portion of organizations identify a desire for some form of hosted functionality while also requiring on-premises deployments. While end user needs for on-premises content management are not changing dramatically, there are some changes, and vendors are adapting to them. A few vendors have launched hybrid solutions in line with these mixed requirements.
A number of things could lead to organizations wanting to maintain their systems on-site. One of the more pointed concerns could be security, which was near the top of the list of end user requirements throughout 2012. This keeps the pressure on vendors—they must prove, if offering a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, that they’ll be able to address the necessary information management requirements, and do so in a way that satisfies a wide range of security issues.
There remains a dearth of SaaS enterprise content management (ECM) solutions. I imagine vendors will compete with more hybrid models if they cannot find compelling ways to mitigate the continuing requirements for on-premises systems. Regardless, it’s likely that options for different delivery models will expand a bit, as they have for some other types of enterprise software.
Raluca Druta, TEC CRM Analyst, on the commoditization of consumer personalized goods and experiences:
Next year I see personalized goods becoming quite popular. Handmade pieces remain expensive, and do-it-yourself (DIY) may require too much effort, but such goods are coveted by consumers who have become aware of their value in the market. In response, businesses will introduce more and more products that can be personalized. Propose your own recipe and have it cooked on the spot; design your own dress with or without a designer’s help; press producers to multipurpose your gadgets; and so on.
Social technology—which is in part responsible for spurring this trend—will be the main stage where the commoditization of personalized goods unfolds. Customer relationship management (CRM), customer experience management (CXM), and social business software vendors will have to focus on designing flexible solutions that not only collect data from customers but also ensure that it ends up in the right hands for processing. Furthermore, software solutions will have to ensure that accurate communication transpires between customers, designers, and production. But the customer experience must also be driven by a person-to-person approach. Clients will increasingly demand to be treated like individuals. Moreover, there will be more pressure on businesses to exploit the wealth of customer experience to address customer support demands and product and service development.
Ted Rohm, TEC Senior ERP Analyst, on virtual shopping:
In 2013, we’ll start to see Web storefronts bringing a more realistic shopping experience to users. A number of technologies have advanced to the point where software vendors will be able to deliver a number of in-store elements to users. A user may be able to visit a virtual store, choose an avatar, and, for example, try on outfits from the store, changing colors and scenes, all from a mobile device. Mobile technologies and game engines have made these and other virtual reality capabilities within reach for Web storefronts in 2013.
Aleksey Osintsev, TEC Research Analyst, on cloud ERP and HANA-based ERP:
Although I don’t like to repeat annoying buzzwords, I have to bring up “cloud.” In the next year it will continue to be a delivery method for enterprise resource planning (ERP) implemented at ever larger scales. There are differences with the past, however. Companies and government structures will be better educated about the cloud and realize that its forms may vary—from the pure multitenant “fast food” approach to the sophisticated and highly customized private servers and environments that are delivered “as-a-service.” Of course, some clients will be trying to adopt cloud technology just because it promises some cost economy; I’d advise them to conduct a careful and thorough analysis before they make a final decision.
Another event that deserves attention is the upcoming delivery of SAP’s ERP software based on the revolutionary HANA platform. The enormous potential of this platform to quickly manipulate and analyze huge masses of data has not yet been widely recognized by ERP vendors or clients. This and similar technologies will surely be trending in 2013 and may transform ERP software as we know it.