2010's New Software Star: 'Socialytic' Business Apps

2010's New Software Star: 'Socialytic' Business Apps

Watch how the vendors pursue and try to serve this emerging market.

What's next for the ever-evolving and consolidating enterprise applications market in 2010? The rise of next-generation "socialytic" apps that fuse business apps with analytics and social and collaboration software.

That's according to IDC's new "Predictions 2010: Recovery and Transformation" report, led by Chief Analyst Frank Gens. (IDC and are owned by the same parent company, IDG.)

In the report, Gens describes a business and technology environment filled with mobile devices and applications, collaboration and social networking systems, and cloud-services delivery models that will fundamentally transform the way both customers and vendors create and consume traditional business applications.

"This new mashed-up generation of business applications that leverage social and collaborative networks and derive insights from them--call them 'socialytic' apps," Gens writes, "will bring not only new capabilities to customers and new growth to suppliers but also new competition and threats to traditional leaders."

So just how will these socialytic apps actually help businesses? Gens contends that marketing departments, for instance, could be big beneficiaries: Socialytic apps can help "determine the next best customer offer through analysis of the behavior of a buyer via the buyer's social interactions," and allow for more effective "reputation monitoring" and fraud detection, he writes. Another emergent area in 2010, Gens offers, will be in people-centric search and BI--"the use of people as a filter to find information."

Potential Winners and Losers

Warring vendor factions, fighting over new turf, is nothing new.

But what will be interesting to watch is how these vendors individually and collectively pursue and try to serve this emerging market.

Gens writes these new applications will incite a battle between industry stalwarts--especially Microsoft (with SharePoint) versus IBM (with Lotus), but also Oracle, SAP and Google--for control of this new application platform that "bundles search, content management, portal, BI, and collaboration and social software." Upstarts, such as Jive and Telligent, with rival platforms will also play a role, he says.

"The winners will be those that both capture current developers and expand the population of developers with simpler mashup-style paradigms," Gens writes. (For more on this topic, see Millennials + Enterprise Software: Doomed to Fail and the Enterprise Software Unplugged Blog.)

The biggest potential losers, Gens reasons, may be traditional ERP players with standalone products--notably SAP and Oracle. The threats presented by the new "social apps" are significant.

IDC forecasts that customers will earmark more of their software investment dollars for social business platforms and apps than for their core ERP systems.

At most risk: SAP, the ERP behemoth.

"SAP, much more heavily dependent on ERP than Oracle," Gens writes, "has the most to lose unless it can leverage its business process expertise and BI assets to make a splash here."

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