Software's Top 10 2005 Trends: #6 Inter-Enterprise Applications
Conventional wisdom in the VC world is that there are very few white spaces left to fund in the Enterprise Applications area. After all, you can only fund so many CRM and Supply Chain deals.
However, with the advent of web services and technologies such as BPEL (#7) and Composite Applications (#8), the foundation for a new class of inter-enterprise applications is now in place. These Inter-enterprise applications will automate business processes and work flows across enterprises that up until now have been largely manual. These new applications will not just facilitate real-time collaboration between businesses but they will continually manage specific business processes across enterprises. In essence these applications will merge the process oriented features of applications such as PLM and Supply chain with the real time collaboration features of products such as WebEx and Microsoft’s Office Communicator.
For example, processes like dispute resolution in the credit card industry, or clearing in the securities industry, or claims processing in the healthcare industry all involve lots of enterprises working together on a common business process. While large portions of these processes are automated within individual enterprises much of the process between enterprises remains manually managed (even though a lot of data may be exchanged electronically). Creating shared visibility across the entirety of a multi-enterprise business process will bring tremendous benefits in terms of reduced costs and improved productivity. Some interesting examples of companies trying to build such next generation applications include Webify, Viacore, and Rearden Commerce.
Some existing applications, such as PLM and supply chain, may be able to successfully expand their offerings to encompass such inter-enterprise functionality. Indeed if they don’t they are probably going to go out of business. However many of these applications will need to be created from scratch given the unique technology, security, and management challenges inherent in automation of inter-enterprise processes.
For a complete list of Software's Top 10 2005 trends click here.