Xero challenges Enterprise Application market veterans as industry sets to grow

The Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) Enterprise Applications (EA) software market posted a mediocre growth of 5.1% in 2013.

Unlike 2012, when the EA market grew 9%, analyst firm IDC claims Asian enterprises, including New Zealand, were more cautious about their investment in 2013.

Although organisations were keen in upgrading existing back-office applications to embrace the 3 rd platform technologies – cloud, analytics, mobility, and social – watchful spending strategy of customers and the ad hoc nature of deployments did not warrant for sustained growth in 2013.

“The 3rd platform technologies, especially cloud, will be a critical driver for enterprise applications growth in APeJ,” says Sabharinath Bala, Research Manager of IDC’s Asia/Pacific Enterprise Application Software Research.

“Enterprises are moving from an ad hoc deployment of cloud-based applications and other 3rd platform technologies, to a phase of strategic implementation.

“This new era of digital transformation and the speed of innovation of Asian businesses is expected to bring the market back on track in 2014 and through the forecast period.”

According to IDC, it was the usual suspects – SAP, Oracle, Yonyou, Infor, and Microsoft – that dominated in the region from a market share perspective, but most of these major vendors were challenged strongly by niche new players as well as the established SaaS/Cloud-based applications vendors.

Some of the names noteworthy of mentioning include Xero, Cornerstone OnDemand, Kronos, NetSuite and Workday – all of which posted strong double-digit growth in 2013.

“Although most of the major vendors have been creating new internal IP, as well as acquiring assets and expanding their cloud capability inorganically, the challenge of integrating these new resources with their existing portfolio and convincing clients and prospects to take the cloud path remained critical in attracting newer EA investments,” Bala adds.

“But this scenario is slowly changing and vendors that rely primarily on maintenance and upgrade revenue for their existing legacy systems will start losing relevance in the coming days.

“Vendors offering cloud-based systems capable of delivering the agility, flexibility, and scalability of the dynamic Asian businesses, will trump them in their own game.”

IDC expects the overall EA market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% and reach US$9.5 billion in 2018.

Double-digit growth is expected from markets like enterprise asset management, logistics, and procurement; and there will be strong support from mature markets like financial accounting, human capital management, and inventory management.

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