A whole new world? Absolutely. Were now seeing the beginning of that world as the pace of mergers and acquisitions accelerates.
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How should you adapt to this new world? Well, as accurate as I like to think I am about M&A (for example, BEA will eventually go when the price gets better), dont bet on any specific acquisitions or mergers in an effort to game the system. Its impossible to predict exactly what will happen or when. At the same time, its clear that there will be more acquisitions and mergers and that consolidation will accelerate over the next few years to the point where a final outline of the industry will appear by 2012. So the recommendation is to begin to define the kind of relationship you might want with a TSP and how you might pilot that relationship with an-almost-total-system-provider before the M&A music stops.
Id also invest in vendor management best practice development and implementation. While vendor management offices are appearing more frequently now than they had in the 1990s, companies should invest in the tools, technologies, methods and processes likely to optimize the relationships they have with their vendors. Vendor management will quickly become a core competency for 21st century companies.
Finally, if youre a betting man or woman you could make a list of stocks to buy, sell or short given what youre willing to bet about the direction industry consolidation will take, noting that acquirers usually lose value when they buy expensive companies and acquirees usually command a stock premium.