Author: Predrag Jakovljevic
In theory, the Kmart-Sears merger could produce a new layer of competition to mega-retailers such as Wal-Mart. However, it needs more than just size to be competitive. It needs to coordinate its retail strategy with supply chain technology to make it triumph.
Astute IT strategies should help any company develop a strong competitive advantage whether it be improved time-to-market, better insights about customers behavior and preferences, or to devise a more efficient supply chain. This should be embraced by Sears Holding and Federation/May.
A recent survey of chief executive officers has found that growth is again the number one priority, overtaking cost-cutting as their previous top concern. Can enterprise application providers to take advantage of this new focus?
Given the current saturation of the application market, and trends in acquisitions major vendors will be searching for a viable competitive advantage. There will likely be few, very large vendors with products for a very large percentage of business, and many smaller vendors, with products tightly focused on specific vertical markets.
Some will say that the Big Few are in for quite a gamble, given that these market leaders are to introduce a product or concept that directly challenges the model that has led to their success so far.
Leading enterprise applications vendors believe it is crucial to quickly complete the transition to a service oriented architecture (SOA) from monolithic client/server architectures. For the "Big Few" the "stack" race, including applications, databases, application server and middleware, has intensified.
SOA promises interoperability in the heterogeneous business world by promoting loosely-coupled architecture, reusing software, and ending vendor-dependency. However, to be viable, dominant vendors must redesign and expose the hundreds of application functions as services. How are they meeting this challenge?
The ultimate winner in the SOA market will have to provide industry-specific solutions solving essential problems that others cannot. Focus must move away from technology lock-in and vendor dependency, to best solutions for customers, even if it means customers can use competitor products.
With the acquisition of Vastera, JPMorgan Chase may be the first global financial institution to offer a complete integrated cash, trade and logistics solution across the physical and financial supply chains in a way that would maximize benefits to its clients.
Vastera has gradually migrated to become more of a services company than a mere enterprise software provider. Over the last few years it has grown its global trade know-how, consulting practice, and managed services division.