Saturday, January 01, 2011

Buffing Up The Crystal Ball

Are you as tired of reading all those "predictions for 2011" articles as I am? Can't we stop predicting and get on with doing something?

While I'm already tired of seeing these types of posts (I'm writing on New Year's Day), I'm also feeling guilty about not making my own set of predictions.

I'm not really much of a prognosticator, but what the heck…I'll give it my two cents. So I buffed up my crystal ball (which is really one of those glass Christmas paperweights I have yet to pack up- you know, shake the ball and it snows over the scene inside the ball), focused my thoughts on the future, stared deeply into the ball for about 3 seconds and pulled these predictions out of thin air:

1. ERP Support - 2011 will be the year that the current business model for ERP software support begins to implode. Customers just can't continue paying 23 to 25 percent of license fees for annual maintenance. While Oracle and SAP may be able to run the 3rd-party support vendors out of the market through lawsuits and other barriers to entry, the business model will collapse under its own weight as businesses redirect more of their dollars into competing in the marketplace…regardless of the risks associated with lower levels of support.

2. Amazon's EC2 will become the preferred platform for companies moving their ERP instances to the cloud…and the number of companies doing so will not be insignificant. The cloud business model could also be the answer to the collapse of the ERP maintenance fee model (wrap the fees into the overall cloud business model…at a lower fee level) but, either way, 2011 will be the year of ERP in the cloud…and Amazon will be the leading provider.

3. Generation Y - Gen Y (folks born in the earlier 1980s or later) will become the dominant segment of the workforce. And all bets are off in terms of how we work. This will become especially evident in the move away from centralized procedures and processes, and the move toward collaborative creation.

4. Oracle's Fusion Applications - Fusion Applications will become generally available. Customers will find value in the user experience as well as the disappearance of the division between transactions and business intelligence, but they'll also have to adjust to the idea of planned incremental releases of functionality.

5. IT projects that are customer-facing or provide significant costs savings will be at the top of the "to-do" list at most companies in 2011. Maintenance activities will be outsourced (remember that cloud thing?) in a big way, with the cost savings providing the funding to the new projects. From an employment perspective, that means that 2011 will be a better year for IT consultants and contractors…not so much for "permanent" hires.

6. The Oracle E-Business Suite extended support wave will continue to roll through the mostly-unaware set of customers. 11i moved off of Premier Support in 2010. R12.0x moves to Extended Support on February 1, 2012. Still, I don't think 2011 is the year that customers will begin to realize just what has happened to their ERP systems (although Oracle and the user groups have been sounding the trumpet until their faces turned blue). I personally think that happens in 2012 (the fee waiver for 11i Extended Support expires, R12.0x rolls into Extended Support, and the Extended Support warning bell begins to chime for R12.1.x - that's a "triple witching hour").

7. For Oracle in the applications space, 2011 will be about A) extending the reach of the "Red Stack" into the various Oracle application product lines (do you catch Oracle's recent announcement that they'll stop licensing IBM's "Blue Stack" as part of their JD Edwards EnterpriseOne licensing deals?), and B) shifting their acquisition targets to industry-specific vertical solutions.

So there you have it…my predictions for 2011. They're probably worth less than the time it cost you to read them, but we can all have a little fun seeing how accurate I am with this stuff. And at least I've worked off my guilt.

Happy New Year!


Misha Vaughan said...


I couldn't agree with you more on the Generation Y comments.

An interesting data point to mull...

Facebook was more popular than Google for a day in the UK.

John Stouffer said...


Very nice comments and vision to 2011. Many of these should come to pass although Oracle is still committed to that support fee and Larry/Safra love it for the earnings...:-(

Great job. Hope all is well with you and 2011 should be a very interesting year for all of us "Oracle" folks.

Can you believe that the stock is at 31+? Man, I wish I kept all of it I had at 8/share...:-(