Driven by strong growth in enterprise service buses (ESBs), business process management suites (BPMS) and application servers, worldwide portals, process and middleware (PPMW) revenue totalled $11,7-billion in 2006, a 16,4% increase from 2005 revenue of $10,1-billion in 2005, according to Gartner. 

"Software vendors have begun to shift their product mix away from traditional application integration middleware (AIM) products and more toward ESBs and BPMS to capitalise on organisations' demands for process-centric applications and interest in moving to service-oriented architecture (SOA)," says Michele Cantara, research vice president at Gartner. "Additionally, continued market consolidation challenges smaller vendors¹ ability to compete."
IBM continued to maintain a strong lead in the worldwide PPMW market, as it accounted for 31,8% of total software revenue in 2006. Oracle showed the strongest growth rate among the top-tier vendors, as its revenue increased 45% as a result of market demand for its SOA Suite, ESB, application and portal offerings which leveraged its large installed base of databases and applications.
The highest growth segment of the PPMW market was ESB, which grew more than 100% in 2006. This was attributed to various factors. Gartner revised its PMW definitions, which meant additional products are classified in the ESB category, and the ESB market has been driven by demand for SOA from mainstream adopters.
"ESBs' appeal to companies that are looking to move toward SOA one project at a time," Cantara says. "They are affordably priced, and because they are based on messaging technologies, ESBs allow companies to leverage the messaging expertise they already have."
Gartner analysts say the PPMW market is undergoing a rapid transition from traditional AIM products to tools that are increasingly focused on SOA and BPM. While the need for AIM capabilities will not go away, these capabilities will be part of product families that accommodate multiple integration perspectives.
"Vendors will need to be exceedingly cautious to balance their product mix as they navigate this transition," says Cantara. "Newer products tend to be offered at a lower price point and in conjunction with smaller integration projects. These dynamics will require vendors who have focused on selling enterprise wide integration to alter their go-to-market model and their pricing structures."
Gartner Dataquest's software research group has traditionally measured market share in terms of new license revenue. However, because of the emergence and increasing popularity of open-source software and buyer consumption models, such as hosted and subscription offerings, Gartner has moved to measure market share in terms of total software revenue, which includes revenue generated from new license, updates, subscriptions and hosting, technical support and maintenance. Professional services and hardware revenue are not included in total software revenue.
The PPMW market segment includes general-purpose portal products, BPM-enabling technologies, and application integration and platform middleware. BPM-enabling technologies include BPM pure-play software, business rule engines (BREs) and BPMSs.