The many disruptions in the IT marketplace will make it imperative that vendors reinvent or refresh their product offerings and identities, IDC says.
For example, Apple recently changed its company name from Apple Computer to Apple, Inc. Salesforce.com has moved from being an on-demand software company to being a provider of on-demand business services, Gens observes.
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All of the business application players, including Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and IBM, will add business services, we predict, to their software-as-a-service platforms.
Similarly, the boundary between business and consumer IT will continue to blur, especially in terms of targeting the SMB sector. In 2008, we predict such consumer-focused players such as Google, eBay, Yahoo, Apple, and the cable MSOs [multiple system operators] will accelerate their offerings into the SMB space, Gens says. At the same time, business IT players will adopt more consumer-inspired business models to be competitive in the SMB space.
One intriguing contrarian prediction: IBM, the ultimate leviathan in the corporate IT sector, may rethink its long-held strategy of not competing in the consumer market. Its going to be harder to be a leader if youre strictly in the enterprise space, Gens says.
9) A mixed bag of forecasts: telecom, Green IT, location-based services
Surveying the broad tech market, IDC foresees a grab bag of changes, including:
Telecom operators will start promoting consumer VoIP to counter the very successful incursion by cable companies into the residential telephony market.
Its going to be a break-out year for location-based services, Gens says. 2008 will see a flood of applications, including location-aware social networking, twittering and the like, local search, targeted advertising. GPS-based apps will be hot.
The buzz around Green IT will turn out to be more than hype, and in fact increase market share. The reason: its not just environmentally friendly, it saves money. In an IDC survey, 80 percent of businesses said that Green IT is becoming more important for them.
10) Key companies may get acquired
Predicting which tech companies will get purchased by other companies is a particularly daunting task, Gens notes. The companies on IDCs likely to get acquired list may not want to be acquired, and indeed could certainly survive as independent firms. That said, IDC sees the following companies as possible purchase targets, mainly because theyre the kind of businesses the market is looking for:
Intuit its attractive due to its SMB and SaaS capabilities. (At one time Microsoft made a play for Intuit, but was rebuffed.)
Salesforce, Bluewolf, Astadia with the everything online trend in full bloom, these companies are highly desired. Particularly Salesforce.com: We predicted that theyd be bought in 2007, and were sticking with that in 2008, Gens says. He revealed that, last year, IDC analysts argued internally about including Salesforce on the to be acquired list many were against its inclusion. Yet this year, those same analysts agreed that an acquisition of Salesforce was probable.
Attenex, Attensity, Biz360, Connexor, Lexalytics, Recommind These companies are choice targets in the Eureka 2.0 trend referenced in the social network prediction above.
TeleNav and Networks in Motion mobile app platforms will be devoured as the world moves increasingly toward mobile-centric, location-based services.