Customer demand is forcing software vendors to develop products aimed at specific vertical industries, according to new research.
Companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Oracle and Sun are developing product blueprints to give customers and integrators vertical market guidelines on adapting their software, claims analyst firm IDC.
"Vendors must offer blueprints around their products to offer customers guidelines on how to solve a specific vertical business need by using their software," said Bo Lykkegaard, senior research analyst at IDC.
Vendors are also becoming more involved in return on investment (ROI) studies, as well as partnerships with application developers and system integrators.
"Businesses no longer want databases or application-specific products, but want a product that fits a business need which has an ROI attached," said Lykkegaard.
"This is good for the users because it is them driving this."
The IDC research said software makers also need to attract partners to develop business-specific products that work alongside their generic software.
"The big winners will be those that can attract partner support for generic software," added Lykkegaard.
James Governor, analyst at RedMonk, said vendor talk of verticalisation is more about vendors "jockeying for position" at the moment, and would not come into play until the economy picks up.
"Business application vendors are responding to user pressure to become more flexible and open, while infrastructure vendors such as IBM and Microsoft are introducing more and more packaged functionality into their offerings because users won't buy infrastructure for its own sake," he said.
But he added that the verticalisation should not be overstated.
"Organisations are buying horizontal technology too, such as standardising on Linux, virtualisation strategies, and other data centre optimisation approaches."
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