Opportunity Is Knocking

By Geoffrey James

Here are four major opportunities for software sales success in the coming year.

Opportunity #1. Corporate solutions with mobile and wireless
A new IDC survey suggests that providers of mobile and wireless solutions will see a sharp increase in sales during 2005. The survey of 933 organizations across 18 North American vertical market segments indicates more than three quarters of North American organizations will have adopted wireless and mobile technology by mid-2005. This opens an opportunity for software sales reps to work with customers to add mobile capability to existing applications or to sell mobile solutions to address new business issues. The keys to success in this segment are proven network experience, superlative customer support and high-quality secure networking.

Opportunity #2. Software solutions for combating spyware
The need to identify and eradicate parasitic programs will drive antispyware software revenues to $305 million in 2008. Spyware causes significant damage to legitimate software, network performance and employee productivity. It also deluges help desks with complaints about popup advertisements, applications failures and poor PC performance. In addition, spyware’s ability to track keystrokes, scan hard drives and change system and registry settings is a tremendous personal and enterprise security threat. A recent IDC survey of more than 600 organizations listed spyware as the fourth greatest threat to a company’s enterprise network security. IDC estimates that 67% of all computers have some form of spyware, creating a demand for protection. The key to this segment is to make alliances and bundling agreements with security vendors, especially makers of standalone antispyware software.

Opportunity #3. Security software for small- and medium-size businesses
Until recently the hot spot for the sale of security software was large enterprises. Over the past year this segment has become competitive with many vendors going after a decreasing number of untapped opportunities. Software vendors are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate their offerings, resulting in intense price competition and declining margins. However, a strong market for security software and services for small to medium businesses (SMB) has been developing over the past 18 months. Because SMB is different than the enterprise market, software sales have been strongest for solutions that come with bundled features, are easy to deploy and take into account the resource and technology constraints of SMBs.

Opportunity #4. Software alliances growing in importance
IDC believes software vendors must change the way they view, manage and support all types of alliance and channel partnerships. In the past, channel and partner relationships often were held at arm’s length. This created problems for software customers who wanted their software vendors to untangle the patchwork of isolated infrastructure, data and applications that has grown inside IT departments over the years. IDC believes software vendors, to keep sales high, must forge closer relationships with other vendors. Because software customers want a complete solution, software vendors that neglect to address the shift required to provide customers with a dynamic IT approach will be at a disadvantage as the market moves ahead.

The above is based on research from IDC, a high-tech market research firm headquartered in Framingham, MA. For complete reports, contact their sales group at 508-872-8200.