We recently completed a survey of the ISV market and I thought it might useful to summarise our findings.
Perhaps the most interesting statistic was that 75% of ISVs were still just concentrating on traditional applications that improve current processes rather than on developing applications that enabled new ways of working. This perhaps accords with their use of big data: less than 20% thought that leveraging unstructured or machine-generated data was a strong benefit. In fact the numbers that thought machine-generated data was in this category was less than 5% though, conversely, if you combined strong and moderate benefit then machine-generated was regarded as more important than unstructured data.
I think there are probably a couple of things going on here. The first is that the survey was conducted largely in the UK and perhaps the ISVs surveyed are behind the curve when it comes to things like the Internet of Things and the Smarter Planet. And, secondly, that software houses view unstructured data as very important for a limited set of applications but not so much otherwise, which makes a certain sort of sense.
The major trends identified by the ISVs were support for cloud-based implementations and mobile device support. I think this also reflects a sector that is perhaps not as fast-moving as some others. While cloud and mobile are obviously important they have almost become passé - there was cloud and that was followed by big data and now the latest big thing is the Internet of Things - but then, this is life on the bleeding edge and ISVs don't tend to cater for this constituency. Indeed, while cloud was the most commonly cited requirement only 50% of the companies surveyed had a cloud strategy. This was somewhat surprising so we asked the half of the survey that didn't have a cloud strategy why not. The answer to this question was similarly surprising: a mere 8% had security concerns while all the remainder felt that there was no business case for cloud deployment: which again suggests that these organisations (or, at least, some of them) are not as innovative in their thinking as they might be.
More prosaically, ISVs want the sort of things you would expect them to want: a supplier that provides good service and support, that will work with them in developing products and markets, that they can trust, that have industry sector knowledge, and so on and so forth. The biggest negative factors were poor support and a lack of focus on ISVs as a sector - there were far too many comments about their providers not caring about the software houses. Given that 60% of those who answered the relevant question were developing on a Microsoft platform this is perhaps a reflection on the boys from Seattle.