Dennis Howlett in his irregular enterprise blog suggests that all is not well in the land of the big software enterprises. He highlights a chart indicating demand by module for SAP. He also highlights that salaries are holding up and that is no surprise. The number of skill sets required is still high and lot of this has to do with previously initiated upgrades, which take a while to plan and execute. The speed of decline in the economy has eclipsed the speed in the decline of these type of projects and the same applies to new implementations. In my view the real test will be the number of new sales and upgrades commencing in the next two quarters.
I have to admit to being slightly perplexed by the meaning of the graph shown , as the take up of the modules is really related to the industry sector that is undertaking the work. Yes it shows a decline but that appears to have started in 2007 – so I guess the question then is what is SAP selling, because it has been selling growing numbers to this point. Without going through the sales figures in annual reports it would seem pretty logical to suggest then that the real sales have been in the SME sector where the work is undertaken by roving teams and generates very little additional demand. This absolutely applies to SAP Business One which I guess is the main part of the SME zone. As ever treat statistics with caution!
On the IBM front – it is interesting. The point I would raise is that you rarely if ever see the numbers of IBMers changing mentioned in the press. I have a sneaking suspicion that is this due to how they are employed, with a large balance of contractors employed who when the number are reduced do not directly appear as IBM job losses.
I certainly agree with Dennis on the high degree of uncertainty out there. The only logical course of action is to remain agile, take bold decisions and plan for any eventuality!