Technology is irrevocably woven into the fabric of daily business. Most of us would be hard pressed to think of one day in the past month in which we didn’t use some form of technology. In fact, most of us couldn’t even think of a recent work day in which we didn’t use some kind of enterprise software.
As ubiquitous as it is useful, enterprise software is big business. Several of the world’s largest software companies specialize in enterprise software, and the Top 10 enterprise software companies generated US $22.5 billion in revenues in 2008, according to the latest Software Top 100 research.
Nevertheless, enterprise software is a young market, born out of the convergence of ERP, CRM and SCM markets. Walldorf, Germany-based SAP initially made ERP popular in corporate business. In 1972, five former IBM employees – Dietmar Hopp, Hans-Werner Hector, Hasso Plattner, Klaus Tschira, and Claus Wellenreuther – launched the company with the goal of developing software that would allow real-time business processing to help businesses link their processes and information. They succeeded beyond their wildest imagination.
SAP’s software allowed different departments to communicate with each other, a unique feature for the time, and over the next few years businesses across the globe embraced the concept. When HRM and CRM functions were added, the software became even more useful for large businesses and by the 1990s nearly every large corporation began utilizing ERP software, with SAP as a leading provider.
Today, the German giant continues to lead the market with software revenues of €8,197 million (FY 2009). With services for companies of all sizes across 25 industries, SAP has gained more than 95,000 customers in 120 countries.
In Canada, the firm offers what it calls a “comprehensive range of enterprise software applications and business solutions to empower every aspect of your business.” SAP enterprise software offerings include: Business Suite, Customer Relationship Management, ERP, Product Lifecycle Management, Supply Chain Management, Supplier Relationship Management, sustainability solutions and much more.
SAP’s nearest worldwide competitor is Oracle which boasted total applications revenues of US $6,105 million and total software revenues of US $18,877 million. With more than 370,000 customers from 145 countries, including 100 of the Fortune 100, Oracle is a force to be reckoned with. Founded in the late 1970s, Oracle rocketed into the enterprise software market in 2004 with its high-profile acquisition of Peoplesoft and JD Edwards for $10.3 billion.
In Canada, the company now offers customer relationship management, supply chain management, and human capital management through applications such as PeopleSoft Enterprise, Oracle E-Business Suite and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.
As the software market continues to evolve, both SAP and Oracle have expressed interest in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). As smaller companies continue to see strong financial results in this market, larger companies are announcing their intention to shift their activities in that direction.
While the largest enterprise software firms are truly behemoths, several smaller Canadian-based firms are making their mark. In fact, the top two Canadian software companies, as listed by Branham Group Inc., both specialize in enterprise software.
Open Text of Waterloo, ON supports 50 million users in 114 countries and boasts offices in Canada, Asia, Australia, Europe, Brazil, and the US. Founded in 1991, the company is a leader in enterprise content management. Publicly traded on NASDAQ and TSX, the company employs about 3,400 with 2009 revenues of US $785.7 million.
Their flagship product, Open Text ECM Suite, manages all types of enterprise content—including business documents, vital records, Web content, digital assets email, forms, reports and more. It also offers project and community workspaces and business process management tools.
Constellation Software, headquartered in Toronto, provides services to both the public and the private sectors. Founded in 1995, the company has grown through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth and established a strong customer base of 20,000 in over 30 countries.
Made up of six operating groups, – Friedman Corporation, Jonas Software and Constellation Homebuilder Systems in the private sector and Trapeze Group, Harris Computer Systems and Emphasys Software in the public sector – the company has offices in North America, Europe and Australia with more than 2,200 employees and consolidated revenues exceeding US$330 million.
With such a strong global presence, these Canadian firms are making a mark, and may one day be able to take on the industry giants.