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Enterprise apps in 2014: What's in store

Chris Kanaracus | Jan. 6, 2014
What the industry's top application vendors are likely to do this year.

One area where Salesforce.com has lagged in some observers' eyes is analytics. This year, it might be wise to watch for a stronger analytics product push from Salesforce.com, whether through acquisitions or partnerships, Martens said.

Microsoft: Martens is also keeping watch on Microsoft, which will soon have a new CEO after the pending departure of longtime chief Steve Ballmer.

Ballmer has treated Microsoft's Dynamics ERP and CRM business with deference, preserving it as a separate entity as part of the company reorganization he pushed through last year.

Dynamics is seen as a means for Microsoft's sales force to have more conversations with C-level executives in companies, rather than just IT, and therefore as a conduit for other Microsoft products.

There are four ERP products in the Dynamics family, something Microsoft tried to streamline but ultimately gave up on some years ago. The new CEO will be faced with "the age-old question of how to balance the needs of four ERP product families and integrate them to one CRM product," Martens said.

Workday: The HCM (human capital management) software vendor remains hot coming off its late 2012 IPO and will look to ride the momentum through 2014 as it builds out its financial software product line and sells it into large enterprises that have traditionally been Oracle and SAP shops.

On the company's third-quarter earnings call in November, co-CEO Aneel Bhusri said Workday now has more than 550 customers around the world. Bhusri also revealed that Workday had landed 10 new financials customers in the quarter, but said none were in the Fortune 1000.

NetSuite: The cloud-based ERP vendor may have a busy year. Of particular interest could be the evolution of its HCM strategy. NetSuite has taken a two-tier approach, with its recent TribeHR acquisition serving smaller companies, and partnerships with Oracle and others for large enterprise deals, Martens said.

Infor: Under the leadership of ex-Oracle president Charles Phillips, Infor has retooled its user interface, added hundreds of developers and formed partnerships with cloud vendors such as Salesforce.com.

But some might argue the company's profile is still fairly low. This year, Infor will be ramping up its marketing machine in an effort to change that.

"We feel the technology is in place, and now it's time to tell the story," said Infor spokesman Dan Barnhardt.

On the product end of things, it wouldn't be surprising to also see Infor take further steps into HCM, whether through partnerships with companies such as Cornerstone on Demand and Ultimate Software, or acquisitions. 

 

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