The tech landscape will be very different within two years

IT landscape 2 yearsIt would be hard to find a better time to be in IT than right now. That’s only true, though, if you believe that significant changes is good and aren’t wed to the status quo. Big change is coming and with big change comes insecurity, for sure, but also big opportunity.

These are some of the factors making this moment so interesting:

It’s anyone’s game

A few enormous companies have dominated IT for decades. Several are showing signs of faltering and it seems clear that a few of the giants like an Oracle or Microsoft will fall in the near future (prediction: no more than two years before we see a handful of big meltdowns). With the giants losing their stranglehold, it’s anyone’s game and no one is quite sure who will be the new dominant players.

The Cloud shift will come

A significant number of enterprises are sitting on software that isn’t Cloud and are actively planning what to do next. Even the less conservative have kept on-premise systems mostly in place while revamping their strategy (with the exception of using Salesforce). When they start to make their inevitable choices to execute their thought-through strategy, we’ll see a big, rapid shift toward Cloud.  They’ll move en masse to Workday, NetSuite, and other mature Cloud applications that will quickly replace the stalwarts, quite possibly a titan like SAP. They’ll move their backends to Amazon and Rackspace. They’ll file share with Box.

Remember how fast Siebel went down? It will happen like that for more than a few.

Mobile extends everything

Enterprise software made its money on desktops and laptops. That’s an outdated paradigm, as Box CEO Aaron Levie said in a recent interview:

All of a sudden, you have a 2 to 3x gain the the addressable market for enterprise software, which is totally unfathomable and just a massive discontinuous change from what Oracle or Microsoft of SAP could have done 5 or 10 years ago

Levie has it exactly right. Mobile moves people out of the office, a space they only needed to have to access their computer and phone…both of which are now in their pocket. How much bigger can change get than altering how and where work is performed?

Some will survive

But despite the disruption, clever companies will survive the change. Some are predisposed by their position today to make it, like Apple and Google, while others have shown a resilience that will likely see them through despite the shifts taking place (think: IBM). So much change needs to take place that it’s really difficult to predict the winners and losers.

You can’t win by acquisition

Before you think the big guys can simply acquire their way out of the challenge, think again. Andreessen Horowitz’s Scott Weiss writing in TechCrunch points out his reasons why he believes many enterprise software companies are in trouble. He calls the companies that will emerge, “30 New Enterprise Franchises,” that will resist high acquisition offers and emerge form the other side of this change as leaders:

Where will these 30 New Franchises come from? A double investment cycle in SaaS, as the large incumbents buy the early SaaS pioneers and fumble them, will pave the way. Like Lenny from “Of Mice and Men,” they will smother these companies with too much negative attention, mismatched sales forces and misunderstood business models. Following a short vesting period, the product and management talent — who are used to working at a completely different pace — will ultimately leave the incumbent, resulting in a bevy of entrepreneurs that roll out to start even more of these franchises.

Seems like an amazing opportunity, doesn’t it?


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Categories: Information Technology, Strategy

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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2 Comments on “The tech landscape will be very different within two years”

  1. September 10, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    I fully agree with you Chris. I shared this exact vision with a group of my friends who happen to work for a very large IT multinational. They don’t seem to get it. They seem to think cloud computing is a niche. Well, no wonder, their company is on the exact opposite position to AWS in the latest Gartner IaaS quadrant, haha! (now you know who I am talking about)

    I also believe some of the SaaS incumbents will not fare well. strikes me as a possible candidate for getting disrupted, despite massive investments in their platform vision. They run a very expensive high-touch business model which, for an SaaS model, leaves them vulnerable to getting disrupted by “good enough” products at a “fair” price.

    “The Innovator’s Dilemma” should be a mandatory reading for induction of new employees in SaaS companies 🙂

    • September 10, 2013 at 6:58 am #

      Bogdan, excellent comments and I fear you may be spot on with Salesforce as they’re a bit of a hybrid of old and new and that’s a disability for them.

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