Competition Heats Up In Enterprise Software

Posted on by Steve Tout in Current Events

I haven’t blogged here for awhile, and being honest there is extraordinary change happening in our industry that anything I posted here could need to be re-written. In the meanwhile, the business of enterprise software is coming under intense pressure as I imagined it would as cheaper and more robust applications and services come online. Just today, Marc Andreessen takes aim at software giant Oracle and how economic pressure along with lower cost cloud computing alternatives to enterprise software is shaking the very foundations that information systems are built upon and how they are deployed and consumed by start-ups and the SMB market.

Within the Identity Management (IdM) space, this trend could not be more profound. As companies migrate away from enterprise software deployments towards SaaS apps in droves, the justification for enterprise IdM (or WAM) solution does not fit quite as nicely as it once did. In fact, looking at the success of SalesForce.com and availability and support of modern protocols for 3rd party SSO integration (SAML/OAuth, etc…) and many other apps following suit, the options for SaaS apps continues to present viable alternatives and following this logic, more nimble IdM deployments at a fraction of the cost. Looking at Identity & Infrastructure management from VMware perspective there is a comprehensive set of technologies that can be used to build, run, deploy and secure robust business applications. Today, many of these are deployed using a Public Cloud service (somebody else’s infrastructure) but as this technology moves along on the technology adoption curve and some trust/assurance/liability questions are answered, it will gain more momentum and extend its reach into the enterprise space. In certain cases where security or high assurance is needed, an on-premise (Private Cloud) solution that can be tailored to a company’s or government’s specific requirements would be necessary.

Coming back to the Andreessen article and with all due respect to Oracle as a great and mighty successful American company, a lot more folks are taking notice to what I have been saying for some time now. From an investor perspective Oracle might be a good place to keep your assets safe, but with a growing list of compelling alternatives, if Oracle would stop charging prices like it’s 1999 (or 2007) the situation would not seem as dire as they appear they might become. Many of Oracle products are now available through their On-Demand network for more SaaS model services but will that be enough (making them available as a SaaS service) to make good with customers and keep the competition off their heels? Disclaimer: Having never used Oracle On-Demand services I can only venture to guess that even their SaaS model services are priced with premiums.

On the other hand, VMware continues to make interesting strides in virtualizing mobile platforms along with which a user’s identity and entitlements must travel. Access policies, provisioning and compliance must be monitored and controlled across mobile applications and platforms. So with VMware’s Thin App provisioning (the dev team for the latest incarnation being a great group of guys in my neighborhood right up here in Bellevue, Wa) and entitlements around who can access what, the tools available for managing identities across clouds and devices gets even more interesting!

Godspeed, dear innovation! What say you? What do you have to gain or lose with lower cost IdM implementations and more efficient computing platforms?

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