11 predictions for enterprise software in 2013

We take a look into what the future holds for enterprise software vendors and users

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SAP boosts HANA with big data buy and nomenclature shift: Expect SAP to purchase an up-and-coming "big data" product or vendor, and perhaps several, including at least one that specializes in integration with the Hadoop framework for large-scale data processing, said Jon Reed, an independent analyst who closely tracks the company. Such a move would surely be taken with an eye on building out the capabilities of SAP's HANA in-memory database.

SAP will also seek to disassociate the NetWeaver brand name from its cloud products, Reed said. "For 2012, HANA will be the new term du jour."

Hadoop's momentum will continue: Expect plenty of additional adoption for Hadoop, according to analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research. "Everybody has the 'big bit bucket' use case, largely because of machine-generated data," Monash said via email. "Even today's technology is plenty good enough for that purpose, and hence justifies initial Hadoop adoption." Development of further Hadoop technology will be rapid as well, Monash said.

MySQL gets some more competition: Usually when the topic of alternative databases comes up, the incumbent is often Oracle or IBM DB2. But in 2013, MySQL could be playing the latter role. "NoSQL and NewSQL products often are developed as MySQL alternatives," Monash said. "Oracle has actually done a good job on MySQL technology, but now its business practices are scaring companies away from MySQL commitments, and newer short-request SQL DBMS are ready for use. Also, look for PostgreSQL to regain visibility as part of the mix."

Software all around: "[2013] will be the year everyone wants to be a software company," said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. "Large hardware vendors and systems integrators will take advantage of [the consumerization of IT trend] and the cloud to consider delivering software-based solutions and IP to their market and competitors."

HP will make another big software buy: As most people have heard by now, Hewlett-Packard's $10.3 billion acquisition of infrastructure software vendor Autonomy hasn't gone terribly well, particularly in the public relations department.

Although HP shareholders may shudder at the thought of the company shelling out yet more billions, CEO Meg Whitman may push for another big acquisition as part of her turnaround plan.

Along with the search and data management software from Autonomy, HP also has a powerful database in the form of Vertica. Missing components in its lineup seem to be middleware and business applications, so if a deal does occur, watch those spaces.

Economic turmoil on tap: There's likely to be an economic recession in the U.S. in 2013, resulting in a significant pullback in IT spending, particularly on new purchases and investments, according to analyst Frank Scavo, president of the IT research firm Computer Economics.

This will "impact the traditional enterprise software vendors in a greater way than they realize," Scavo said. "Upgrade projects for traditional on-premises enterprise systems will be cancelled or delayed. The third-party maintenance business will prosper as customers look for ways to cut support costs. This will put pressure on traditional vendors to cut maintenance rates, which they have been resisting. This in turn will pressure their operating margins."

While cloud-based vendors will suffer less, they'll still see some deals take longer to close, Scavo said.

Don't believe anything you've just read: "Very few people see really new trends before they start," Scavo said. "I agree with Bill Gates, who said, 'We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10.'"

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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