Emerging software solutions will transform the software industry and the way software is used over time.
According to Gartner, software solutions are changing to be user-centric, web-centric, service-oriented and utilised through new delivery models (such as cloud and software-as-a-service). While this massive amount of change will not be delivered at once, it will cause significant disruptions to the industry.
"Four overarching trends are reshaping how IT is used in the workplace. Each of these megatrends or disruptors must be evaluated to determine if it will have an effect on the business," says Yvonne Genovese, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Once that evaluation is complete, organisations should align business strategy, business key performance indicators (KPIs) and IT strategy. Notwithstanding megatrends, delivering to KPIs should be the primary driver of adoption of new software."
Genovese identifies the four major disruptions to the software industry as the following:
* Rise in new technologies and convergence of existing technologies – The IT market has reached a period of accelerated change and innovation in how IT is applied and delivered to businesses and consumers. Technology changes that have been centred on service-oriented architecture (SOA) migration have now been augmented to include business process management, device portability and mashup-capable content. By 2010, web mashups will be the dominant model for the creation of composite corporateapplications.
"Mashup popularity stems from the ease with which mashups can be created. Because mashup applications can be created on the fly, they open up possibilities for a new class of more short-term or disposable applications that could never meet the criteria for corporate investment," says Genovese. "Another benefit is that users can easily personalise mashup content displays. Mashups can resolve issues such as content aggregation and the needs of business users to have the personal flexibility to do different things by combining data from within and outside the organisation."
* Change in software user and support demographics – Changes in how, where and when we work, as well as new ways for companies to fulfil their needs via the internet are fundamentally changing the structure of business. By 2015, no company will build or sustain a competitive advantage unless it capitalises on the combined power of individualised behaviours, social dynamics and collaboration.
"Most current software is focused on general corporate needs rather than user-specific needs," Genovese says. "The opportunity for business and IT leaders is to understand how the individualisation of work will affect businesses, critical processes, innovation and inter-organisation collaboration. End-user preferences will decide as much as half of all software, hardware and service acquisitions made by IT."
* Revolutionary changes in software and how it is consumed – By 2010, SOA will be used in part in more than 80% of new, mission-critical applications and business processes. The resulting future application environment will be more granular, inclusive and fluid to enable rapid composition, integration, orchestration and reuse. During 2008 and 2009, organisations must radically re-engineer their processes, governance and disciplines to initiate and manage this transition as well as evaluate and manage external and off-premises delivery of applications.
"Market excitement over web platforms, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and other IT utility services will only intensify, and this will increase business buyers' appetites for these new options and services," says Genovese. "This period will see huge changes in all facets of the IT market including clients, providers, investors, business and IT professionals and consumers."
* Software market moves to megavendors supporting large ecosystems – Software megavendors have proven their impact and influence over customer spending across a range of markets. Megavendors seek to dominate enterprise architecture and the terms of integration in multivendor portfolios. Focused vendors must coexist with other applications and with enterprise architecture. As the transformation to SOA for packaged applications and the exposing and manipulation of process metadata become
minimum requirements for the next generation, it is megavendors that will have the resources, and focused vendors that will have the incentive. However, focused, best-of-breed vendors face a long time before a next generation of open, composite applications drives the market and opens it to a wider range of vendors.
"We see rapidly changing technology in an industry that seems to be maturing. Vendors are focusing more on the 'business of software rather than solely on product competition. Users faced with increased vendor power and lower price flexibility are looking for alternatives, containment strategies and ways to lower vendor switch costs. How the vendors react to these changes and pressures will be the basis for changes in their competition over the next five years," says Genovese.