The IT industry is in the midst of a massive structural shift toward a next-generation compute platform called the 3rd Platform. Interestingly, the rise of the 3rd Platform is happening alongside a customer revolution. Consumer-like expectations for simplicity and transparency are dictating pricing models and terms. Both trends are having ripple effects across the industry. We’re now seeing new business models that align more closely with business outcomes and customer experiences becoming the preferred way of monetizing software.
Technology has changed many industries in amazing ways. Transportation, manufacturing, healthcare—all have been transformed in the last decade due to increased collaboration, communication, and real-time access to contextual data facilitated by Cloud technologies, mobility, social networks, and analytics technologies. Despite being key enablers to advancement, technology software providers themselves have not always been at the forefront of using technology to transform their businesses from the inside out. However, pressure to transform is coming from all sides, most notably the outside–in. Customers are demanding change with their wallets. Cloud software is growing at more than five times the rate of the traditional packaged software market. By 2018, $1 of every $5 spent on software, and $1 of every $4 spent on applications, will be consumed via the cloud.
With all major players in the software industry transitioning to the Cloud in some manner, the vast majority of new software companies entering the market are doing so as “providers of Cloud services”. As a result, the $368 billion software industry is changing forever, and packaged software and perpetual license revenue is in permanent decline.
The IT industry is in the midst of a massive shift toward what IDC calls the 3rd Platform. The 3rd Platform is characterized by a proliferation of always-connected smart mobile devices coupled with the widespread usage of social networking, and layered over a cloud-based server infrastructure supporting important new workloads such as big data analytics.
The 3rd Platform is not just a technology revolution; it’s also a customer revolution. Unlike the previous generation of software, 3rd Platform applications will be designed for the consumer and enhanced for the enterprise. Consumer-like expectations for ease of acquisition and access as well as simplicity and transparency will dictate pricing models and payment terms. In addition, expectations for ease of use and interoperability will also be gleaned from consumer experiences.
Back-office software technologies are an integral part of the back-bone that supports business. However, when the “enterprise” using enterprise resource planning (ERP) software happens to be a software company, back-office systems fall short of providing critical flexible support. Manual workarounds for processes such as recognizing subscription license revenue, reconciling entitlements, and dealing with a contract paper trail have been nearly good enough in the past, but fixing operations is a key requirement for many software companies.
Guest blog post by Amy Konary, Vice President, IDC
For decades, success in the software business required executing on the following:
1. Make a Killer Product
2. Drive down Marginal Costs
3. Sell as many Units as Possible
4. Repeat Steps 1-3
Traditional software monetization models have been built to support this approach. However, today’s software customers are focused on using what they have, rather than buying more.