Enterprise software will increasingly be shaped by what Gartner calls the “Nexus of Forces.” According to the research firm, these disruptive forces of cloud, information, mobile and social will reach mainstream status in 2014, create new requirements, drive new purchasing and establish new competitive realities.
"Starting in 2014, the enterprise software markets will undergo their greatest level of disruptions, growth and new opportunities since the year 2000," said Tom Eid, research vice president at Gartner in a release. "By 2017, Gartner estimates that new IT buying based on the Nexus of Forces will drive more than 26% of total enterprise software market revenue, up from 12% in 2012.”
Eid also pointed out that it’s important for both businesses and solution providers to realize that the nexus forces must be evaluated, analyzed and understood as adjacent and synergistic and not as independent or non-connected.
While the use of collaboration technologies, data analytics, mobile devices and software as a service (SaaS) have been in effect for more than a decade, their adoption and popularity have increased significantly over the last few years.
Solutions have continued to improve and usage benefits are becoming more tangible. For example, mobile deployments have been imperative of late, but the return was rarely measured. Now, enterprises are starting to assess the impact on the bottom line.
Cloud and SaaS popularity and adoption have been on the rise since 2008, as organizations remain under pressure to mitigate operational costs and provide anytime, anywhere access.
Cloud-based offerings can be tailored to specific business requirements. First-time purchases are commonly characterized by short time frames, limited computing requirements, and line-of-business or departmental buying.
More comprehensive and mature usage of cloud-based offerings is more strategic and frequently represented by long-term projects to transform technology access/use with oversight and funding from IT management.
Data, Analytics, Content
Analytics and data analysis are well-established for most large companies on traditional technologies like desktops and laptops, and in traditional subject areas, such as finance and sales, but there is extensive growth potential for mobile devices and diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive projects.
Thus, the emerging data-as-a-service trend is anticipated to significantly grow. Today, the business model is largely "build" driven. Organizations license software capabilities to build analytic applications.
However, increasingly, companies will subscribe to industry-specific data services that bundle a narrow set of data with BI and analytic capabilities embedded. These capabilities will also be mobilized, as the next generation of apps become more than just workflow tools.
Enterprise content management (ECM) can be viewed as both a business-IT strategy as well as a set of software technologies. As an IT strategy, ECM helps organizations take control of their content and, in so doing, boosts effectiveness, encourages collaboration and makes information easier to and more secure share.
Mobile and social forces are frequently leveraged for new ECM projects and this will be a significant area of consideration across the business. New strategic and sophisticated ECM initiatives are, in fact, being funded at the CxO level to focus on information governance and regulatory compliance requirements.
Emphasis over the next few years will be on providing enterprise-class support for mobile data and apps, and the evolution of enterprise mobile-ready architectures. This will be driven by key technologies, such as enterprise mobile management systems (EMMSs), mobile containers, enterprise application stores and mobile collaboration.
Employees persist in demanding mobile apps that exploit the capabilities of the smartphones and tablets. They also want their personal devices to integrate into existing corporate systems. Otherwise, they will work around what the enterprise limits. This trend is pushing the application software market in a new direction, and a mobile app strategy should be a priority for businesses, while mobile app product offerings are important for vendors.
Social and Collaboration
The promise of the converging social, mobile, cloud and information forces is directly relevant to delivering successful collaboration and social software initiatives.
For many organizations, first-time internal usage of social and collaboration software is primarily focused on individual and small-group communication and sharing. For organizations that are looking to move from an initial or trial phase to a richer experience and more sophisticated stage of usage, emphasis shifts to focusing on collaboration in the context of work activities.
This includes enterprise-level commitments for collective intelligence, community building, knowledge sharing and virtual teaming as key drivers of expanding and enhancing usage. IT managers need to work with their users so that social and collaboration software blends naturally with the tasks they need to carry out every day, while meeting the requirements of the business.