Acquisitions of companies such as Sun, BEA, Peoplesoft, Cognos, Siebel, Business Objects, and countless others the past few years have created a competition vacuum in the enterprise software space. For example, in the last five years or so, Oracle has spent over thirty billion USD purchasing nearly sixty companies. Microsoft has gobbled up eighty or so, IBM sixty, EMC forty and Hewlett-Packard approximately thirty-five. And these are just the giants.
The next tier of enterprise software companies also have pretty long lists of recent acquisitions. So one can imagine quite easily that this collective buying spree has created a deep void in the landscape of enterprise software, and as a result creates a tremendous opportunity.
After all, not much has happened in terms of new products and innovation in the space in the past several years, save for a handful of companies such as Salesforce.com, NetSuite and some of the various SAAS and open sources models that have emerged. But even much of this is nearing the ten year mark.
Interestingly, some of the Fortune 500 have annual I.T. budgets north of a billion dollars per year. And those that don't have budgets that are indeed quite large. This, combined with the fact that many of their primary systems were built and deployed in the 1990's (yes that's ten to twenty years ago) and are getting a bit "long in the tooth" as they say of aging horses, creates an interesting set of dynamics.
In addition, Cloud infrastructure is maturing and getting more firmly in place with more efficient computing resource and data storage models. It is quickly becoming the seedbed for future enterprise software innovation, not only in new software categories, but also in the traditional categories of business intelligence, analytics, data management, and employee and customer-facing applications.
All of these trends point to a "perfect storm" of opportunity. Their alignment ought to be attractive to a new wave of entrepreneurs that can take advantage of the emerging Cloud Computing trend in new and exciting ways. This will enable a great deal of new innovation in the enterprise/corporate information technology space.
So while much of the technology press is caught up in all of the Android-iPhone rage, Facebook privacy issues, and the Groupons and Four Squares of the world, quietly many technology veterans are taking notice of this enterprise software void and recognizing the opportunity for what it is.
As one example, Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame has recently indicated that his venture capital firm is investing in a "new wave" of enterprise software companies. Others are sure to follow this trend of focus including both entrepreneurs and investors.
In other words, I don't subscribe to the opinion held by some that enterprise software is dead. So over the next couple of years, I do expect a wave of new enterprise software companies to emerge, setting off another arms race in the corporate I.T. space as organizations battle it out to stay a step ahead of their competition.
Fortunately, companies like StrikeIron with our data-as-a-service external data and data verification components can benefit extensively from this trend, providing important pieces to these emerging applications with ease.
It should be exciting times ahead.