Gartner: Portal, Process and Middleware Market on the Rise

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 06-06-2007

The market for portal, business process and middleware applications rose 16 percent in 2006, according to a new report from Gartner.

According to the report, released July 6, demand for these applications was driven by strong growth of implementations of ESBs (enterprise service buses), BPMS (business process management suites) and applications servers.

The increase in PPMW (business process and middleware) purchases comes at a time when more companies are focusing on implementing SOA (service-oriented architecture) concepts and BPM capabilities, at the cost of traditional application integration middleware. The market is also being driven by new, smaller entrants offering lower price points and incremental implementations that appeal to cost-conscious enterprises.

"Software vendors have begun to shift their product mix away from traditional AIM products and more toward ESBs and BPMS to capitalize on organizations' demands for process-centric applications and interest in moving to SOA," said Michele Cantara, research vice president at Gartner.

Worldwide PPMW revenue totaled $11.7 billion in 2006, a 16.4 percent increase from 2005's revenue of $10.1 billion, according to Gartner's report.

IBM, which has a huge portfolio of PPMW products under its WebSphere umbrella, maintains a strong lead in the market with 31.8 percent of total software revenue in 2006. BEA held the second largest market share at 10.5 percent, down from 10.7 percent in 2005. Oracle, the third runner up, showed the strongest growth rate, at 45 percent, driven by demand for its SOA products, ESB, application and portal offerings, according to Gartner.

Overall the biggest area of increase in the market was ESB, which grew more than 100 percent last year. Gartner attributes the growth spurt to "various factors" including a reclassification of its PPMW definitions to include ESB, and a demand for SOA from mainstream adopters.

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"ESB's appeal is to companies that are looking to move toward SOA one project at a time," said Gartner's Cantara, in Stamford, Conn. "They are affordably priced, and because they are based on messaging technologies, ESB allows companies to leverage the messaging expertise they already have."

What does this shift in the traditional middleware market mean for software vendors? They need to be exceedingly cautious to balance their product mix, according to Cantara.

"Newer products tend to be offered at a lower price point and in conjunction with smaller integration projects. These dynamics will require vendors who have focused on selling enterprise-wide integration to alter their go-to-market model and pricing structures," Cantara said.

That can only be good news for customers.

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