Who will be the winners and losers in the IT industry in this volatile economy? The consensus of industry analysts in the latest BriefingsDirect podcast is that IT companies involved in services and provide direct impact to businesses in terms of streamlining and quick ROI.
SOA a 'game changer' in today's economy
Dana Gardner assembled another stellar lineup of panelists, who discussed the industry's immediate future. (Transcript here.) Tony Baer even coined a term for the new world we are entering, and that is "tactical transformation." As he explained it, any economic or financial crunch is push companies to "look very opportunistically" for quick wins or ways to respond to market changes in a more agile manner. The way to do this, he said, is to look to the cloud to take advantage of specific services. Big SOA is out, he added:
"You won’t necessarily do a global top down or enterprise-architectural SOA transformation, if you haven't done SOA already. But, opportunistically, if you are trying to take advantage of some of these cloud-based services to start doing mining on a more massive scale, at the same time trying to lower your risk, it will require certain applications or data source that you may have. You may need to conduct a transformation, where you will implement, more flexible architectures, data SOA architecture."
Dave Linthicum said that any technologies or methodologies that deliver greater efficiencies will fare well over the coming months -- such as cloud computing, and yes, SOA:
"People are going to move into more efficient technologies. They are going to look at a little bit more at cloud computing and other ways to save money and start moving aggressively in those directions. I think IT and some of the IT leadership were just waiting for an excuse to drive in this unfamiliar, risky area. If their budgets are sliced, they still have the responsibility for doing very intense IT business processing, and they are looking for new innovative ways to do that. That's inclusive of cloud computing and services-oriented architecture."
Dave observed that the "the SOA market just in terms of services seems to be exploding right now... It's definitely a game changer right now."
Tony Baer aded that IT companies that focus more on services will fare better over the coming months.
Jim Kobielus says that any economic downturn is going to hurt vendors that selling hardware as part of new solutions. Those engaged in data warehouse appliances will be particularly vulnerable. Larger BI and data warehousing vendors may do fine, he adds, noting that vendors with large parts of their business in the financial services vertical (the epicenter of the financial crisis) say business is fine, thank you:
"Right now, with the data warehousing and BI vendors, every time I talk to them, I ask them, 'Okay, a substantial proportion of your business is in the financial services vertical. How are you feeling? Are you seeing any softness in demand for your solutions?' And pretty much uniformly, they say, 'Well, so far so good. We’re not really seeing a huge cut back in orders, or even any substantial delays in placement of orders that were expected,' but everybody is sort of bracing for the worst."