February 4, 2004

The Anything-But-Microsoft Market

The enterprise software market, and all of IT for that matter, has long struggled over two essential questions: What is the next killer app, and how
can vendors get customers to pay for it? Leaving aside the first question for another column, one way to get customers to pay for new technology is to
figure out a way to free up existing IT dollars for new development. And the easiest way to do that is to come up with some disruptive technology or
business practice that lets companies throw out one piece of IT spending to free up capital for the next killer app.

The question of where new spending can come from is particularly important to the enterprise software market, which has been relatively successful of
late in capturing sparse IT dollars and has no desire to see the trend go south again. Probably the most ambitious of all is Microsoft and its
Business Solutions (MBS) group, the owners of the Axapta, Great Plains, and Navision ERP products. Microsoft's goal of growing MBS from its current
$500 million per year to $10 billion in 2010 reveals an expected growth rate that has gotten competitors to sit up and take notice. There's only three
ways to do this -- organic growth, more acquisitions, and poaching existing competitors' customers -- and not one spells anything but trouble for the

Link: intelligententerprise.com

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