What are the drivers fuelling uptake of AIM software in the local market?

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This article appeared in the 15 September, 2008 issue of CRN magazine.

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According to Gartner, the AIM software market revenue totalled US$14.1 billion in 2007, a 12.9 percent increase from 2006 revenue of $12.5 billion. The market was primarily driven by strong growth in emerging market segments, such as enterprise service buses (ESBs) and business process management suites (BPMS).

The AIM market can be primarily characterised by three overall market forces. The market is demonstrating resilience with several mature segments still evolving and growing.

In addition, vendors are shifting their traditional application infrastructure and middleware products mix toward ESBs and BPMS in response to the strong demand for products that support Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and process-centric applications. Thirdly, the globalisation and internationalisation of companies are driving B2B integration requirements
and sophistication.

“Furthermore, the AIM segment in 2007 grew above the average growth rate of the overall enterprise software market, demonstrating that this technology area had not seen any noticeable signs of slowdown,” said Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner.

In 2007, the top five vendors held more than 50 percent of the overall AIM market, with IBM maintaining its leading position and accounting for 28.9 percent of the total software revenue.

“This year is set to be the most challenging for IBM in the middleware segment following the acquisition of BEA by Oracle which consolidated the second and third position in the AIM software market,” added Biscotti.
Michael Vulcan
Managing director A/NZ, Sterling Commerce

The AIM market is being driven by the need for Australian organisations to update their older systems with middleware, providing a bridge for companies to continue to innovate and plan for future growth.

Within this environment, Australian retailers, manufacturers and logistics are at the forefront of recognising the need to integrate the old with the new.

All manufacturers, for example, know that effective collaboration with their trading community of suppliers and customers is necessary for success.

At the same time, many organisations have automated several of these internal and external processes, using IT systems to reduce costs and grow profits. But the reality is that very few companies have automated the majority of these processes, leaving a great deal of room to increase business.

They continue to be hampered by lack of visibility of their downstream trading partners, the inability to have a 360-degree view of their customer, and their slow reaction time to market.

Many have already embraced an interim strategy by using middleware solutions such as the Gentran Integration Suite from Sterling Commerce that gives them an SOA platform to enable the free flow of information, visibility and connectivity outside their traditional four walls.

Additionally, many companies are also embracing the outsourcing of electronic commerce to trade electronically, reducing the chance of errors, increasing the ability to take and process more orders, and leaving electronic commerce up to e-commerce specialists.

As the cost of conducting business comes down, companies can focus their efforts on more meaningful IT projects that will help to reinvent their company.

Peter Chapman
Senior solution architect, Extend Technologies

Extend Technologies’ customers face three significant drivers as they design their application infrastructure.

Vendor consolidation is the first. Reducing the number of vendors and technologies saves time and money. It also narrows down the architectural options to a manageable number.

Most of our customers are already committed to SAP and Microsoft, whose combined infrastructure supports ERP, CRM, process orchestration, offline users, workflow, master data management, service integration, plant integration, mobility, portals, Internet, and business intelligence.

It makes sense to exhaust their combined offerings before looking further afield.

Collaboration is the second driver. IT architects have embraced Service-Oriented Architecture and every vendor is ticking the SOA box. In practice this means easier (if slower-performing) integration between different applications, users and equipment.

As a gold partner with both SAP and Microsoft, Extend Technologies specialises in high-performance solutions that combine SAP’s data, security and business logic with Microsoft’s familiar, customisable user interface. Our customers are adopting these hybrid solutions with enthusiasm previously reserved for social networking sites.

Today’s younger employees need an engaging user experience. “One size fits all” is no longer the case. Modern design tools make it cheap and easy to tailor the interface. The application infrastructure must encourage this freedom without compromising the integrity of back-end processes and data.

From our perspective we will need to deliver to user expectations, deliver a return on the IT investment by providing an integrated and flexible technology framework for business execution.
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