Follow the Money, where are the lands to Farm?

We’re in the fight for Partners, middleware, marketshare and mindshare.

There are many things in play. First of all, many of the middleware vendors (Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, IBM) are well established, especially in the traditional geography’s like the US and EMEA. The fight for standards is down to .Net vs Open (or NetWeaver I guess), I think each will have plenty of share, plus or minus some points along the way. The ISV community will have to make a decision on who to partner with or develop for, another decision being made.

So there is plenty of ties here and no clear winner so far, lots of the companies here are neck and neck in the established playing field, so who will take control? The caveat here is the established playing field. The opportunity is in the unplowed farmland which is the emerging markets.

Here is where I’m referring to. The BRIC countries are Brazil, Russia, India and China. Most have no real allegiance to any of the stated companies above, although there is considerable upside for open standards. There are many Asia Pacific and Eastern European countries who also tend to go to open, which doesn’t bode well for .Net or NetWeaver as they are more or less proprietary, Microsoft has a perception problem with monopolistic tendencies, Oracle won’t have a full fusion integration offering until 2007 and then there is IBM.

Sure my view is contaminated as I’m taking the IBM viewpoint, but I’m also a student of history and I’m for competition. I doubt that there will be a dominant player like there is in the operating system space, but I do know that the opportunity is in the masses or the Long Tail of the market. That is the many small players that make up the majority of the marketplace, especially in the emerging markets
Now that I have set the playing field, here is what we are going to do to in this space. IBM is pushing hard to localize the partner programs by region, by country. We’ve checked with the country and area managers to see who is their target ISV’s. We also have a resource that the competition doesn’t have, 40,000 sales reps to help the partners close sales.

So we will fight the good fight for the marketshare points in the traditional space.  The ISV’s and customers will vote with their money and we’ll see who is the winner. The big win for us is the rest of the world, the emerging markets. We don’t see the other companies much there and we’re heads down on that space.

So I doubt that Ballmer or Ellison or Schwartz read my blog, but if they did, they’d know where we are gaining ground and where we are going to do our damage. Even if they did read this, do I think they’d listen? I’ll let you know if the recruiters call soon. I’ll bet that we continue to make progress and they’ll be playing catch up.

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