Continuing consolidation in the enterprise application software industry is generating uncertainty for many clients, and leading to delays in placement and timing of pending software investments, industry experts have warned.
According to IDC, this concern is leading customers of enterprise applications such as SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle to turn increasingly to systems integrators for insight into potential software investments.
"The unprecedented consolidation within the enterprise application software industry may shift the dynamics in the enterprise application services market and create further uncertainty," said Stephanie Torto, programme manager for systems integration business strategies research at IDC.
"However, systems integrators with strong capabilities, a forward looking vision, and close relationships with customers will be poised to capitalise on these opportunities."
Systems integrators will play a key role in advising clients on the future of the enterprise applications space, creating a product roadmap and advocating and communicating client needs to the independent software vendors (ISVs), IDC predicts.
According to the analyst firm systems integrators and ISVs will continue their dual relationship as competitors and allies in order to create revenue and drive growth for the Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP ecosystems.
But striking a balance between alliance partner and competitor remains a challenge within the ever-changing software landscape, according to the analyst.
"Customers are turning to the systems integrators as their trusted advisor and eye into the ISVs more than ever," said Torto.
"IDC recommends that systems integrators promote the strength of their relationships with the ISVs to play the role of advisor and assist clients in making sense of the uncertainty."
The IDC study found that SAP enjoys the largest third-party consulting and systems integration support of all leading enterprise application firms, with Oracle and PeopleSoft coming in second and third respectively.
IBM Global Services and Accenture held spots as the leading systems integrators in both these markets globally and in the US. Capgemini fared well in the global markets, while Deloitte was strongly positioned in the US.
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