While there may be some consolidation in the IaaS and PaaS spaces, there will also be new entrants. The better way to look at it is that there will be a few global players while there will be a large number of regional cloud infrastructure and platform service providers.
However, in the SaaS sector, even with continued consolidation, the number of players can be expected to grow. This will occur because this segment is devoted to applications and the number and variety of applications and application providers continues to expand.
It is the area where there will be major innovative advances, usually by small players, every year in some corner of the world. Thus, one can expect to see new applications, offered as a service, constantly emerge that change the market.
Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
Salesforce.com did this with its CRM offering and became a dominant player by stealing customers from legacy Oracle and SAP CRM solutions and winning over those that could not afford to implement the costly on-premise software model. This will be repeated time and again – just look at the new payment applications like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay or the peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems like Venmo.
The cloud markets will continue to grow and mature over the next decade while CSPs themselves will grow, mature, merge, and/or fade away. The only certainty is change – the unknowns are the winners and losers.
The fact that one cannot count on a static supplier environment means that business and IT executives need to pay careful attention to the contract terms and conditions that they negotiate or accept. As part of the review process executives need to determine what happens if the CSP is acquired or expires.
Will the application still function until a new provider is found and what happens to the databases and customer information? Who has access rights and for what purposes?
Furthermore, executives should pay attention to advances in SaaS applications that could impact their business. You never know when there may arise one or more new disruptive applications, which could change how customers interact with their vendors, and therefore with whom they choose to use as their product or service providers.
One need not be first to market but falling behind competition could be disastrous. The best way to keep abreast of application advances is to pay attention to what apps the Millennials are using and see what applies.
About the author
Mr. Braunstein serves as Chairman/CEO and Executive Director of Research at the Robert Frances Group (RFG). In addition to his corporate role, he helps his clients wrestle with a range of business, management, regulatory, and technology issues.
He has deep and broad experience in business strategy management, business process management, enterprise systems architecture, financing, mission-critical systems, project and portfolio management, procurement, risk management, sustainability, and vendor management. Cal also chaired a Business Operational Risk Council whose membership consisted of a number of top global financial institutions.